From where I stand: Aiturgan Djoldoshbekova and Aigul Alybaeva
"Since my childhood I have seen girls and women not being treated equally as boys and men. I see this in everyday life and in the films we watch.
I am interested to learn more about the law. Because the law says we are equal. And I think, boys and girls, men and women should be equal.
I am not afraid [of bride kidnapping] because now I know my rights. I know if someone kidnaps me, they are violating the law and I can appeal to the court.
It is important that girls know their rights. I want us all to be feminists and work together to stop violence against women and girls.
What I learn in school, about rights, I share with my younger brother. He too should know his rights. I tell him that we have to take an absolute stand against violence.”
"Aiturgan was always a good student, but now she is even more interested to learn. She wants to be a prosecutor.
Feminism is in her character. She knows her rights and she shares with me what she learns in school.
We also talk about violence. She already knows what laws have been broken, or what rights have been violated in a situation.
We try to support her, create an enabling environment at home, so that she gets the time she needs to study, prepare for her assignments.
If my daughter was kidnapped, I would definitely accept her back. Some mothers don’t. But I want her to be happy and marry the person whom she loves.”
Kyrgyzstan has laws to end domestic violence, but social acceptance of violence against women and girls, including the practice of bride kidnapping, remains widespread. Aiturgan Djoldoshbekova, 16, is participating in a school-based education programme implemented by the National Federation of Female Communities of Kyrgyzstan (NFFCK) and supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system), to empower girls, initiate inter-generational dialogues to change attitudes and to end bride kidnapping, early and/or forced marriages. her mother, Aigul Alybaeva, is supports her daughter’s participation in the programme and discusses with her about various issues, including violence against women and girls. This story is linked to Sustainable Development Goal 5 and its target on ending all forms of violence against women and girls, including child, early and forced marriage. It also contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its target on ending violence against children.
Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.