Meet Ayana, Gender Violence Survivor From Kyrgyzstan
Ayana was determined not to become one of 40% of ethnic Kyrgyz women married after being kidnapped by the men who become their husbands. In some towns and villages, when a Kyrgyz man decides to marry, he often violently abducts the woman he has chosen. Anaya was a high school student who attended boarding school outside of her home town. She returned for the holidays and fell victim to a common custom in her country, namely the kidnapping of women who are then forced to marry.
“Kyrgyzstan woman have no right to protest, they have no right to ask the police for help, they have no right to say No. They have no voice.” - Dr. Rosemarie Durocher, Therapist.
Ayana describes her abduction “I was walking down a small street in my home city during the day, when a car pulled up and two men jumped out and grabbed me and threw me in the back seat.” She recalls how she fought, kicked and screamed in terror.
Ayana recounts that her male kidnappers grew very frustrated and impatient with her screaming and kicking in self defense. While the car was travelling at high speed, her abductors opened the car door and pushed her out onto a paved road. Ayana woke up in hospital after having been unconscious for several hours, she suffered three broken ribs, a fractured wrist and extensive bruises.
Her parents feared that she would be subject to the same traumatic experience of bride–kidnapping again and they decided that she should leave Kyrgyzstan and study abroad. Ayana did not want to leave her family, or her friends and community, but at the same time she lived in terror and was living with an over whelming sense of helplessness that she had no rights because of her gender and that young male predators would continue to hawk and intimidate her until they successfully abducted her and forced her into marriage.
Today, Ayana is a University student in Los Angeles with an internship at a local fashion label. She has her mind set on getting her masters degree next. As a survivor of gender violence, Ayana continues to work alongside PTV treatment team to rebuild her trust and confidence and to feel whole again.