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Chapter Eleven Reflections on Kidnap and Rape Culture A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Patriarchy Cynthia Werner Two central questions addressed in this volume are why women in many cultural settings often seem to accept or accommodate patriarchal beliefs and practices that are harmful to them and why women often seem to be complicit in their own exploitation. The chapters by Manago and Khurshid link the values children acquire in extended patrilocal households to broader concepts of family honor. Daughters are expected to maintain that honor by behaving modestly and obediently, being sexually circumspect, and accepting the choices made by parents for their marriages. Daughters who fail to do these things bring shame to the family, and therefore young women’s behaviors are monitored by family members, who may chastise and punish them for infractions or reward compliance with more behavioral latitude. In rural agrarian settings, the community also plays a role in reinforcing compliance with values of honor and shame by using gossip about women’s bad behaviors to cast aspersions on the families that should be controlling them and on the women themselves. In this chapter, I bring into the discussion another important factor influencing women’s accommodations to patriarchy. In some contexts, women’s choices and behaviors are also regulated by specific patriarchal value systems that transcend individual families and cut across ethnic, religious, and national beliefs. Specifically, I draw parallels between two seemingly unrelated corners of the world and compare rape culture, particularly as found on US college campuses, with kidnap culture, as practiced in parts of Central Asia. Although the cultural settings might be quite different, the comparison between these two cases provides a useful exercise for understanding the dynamics of patriarchy as a system that constrains women’s choices, erases their sense of active agency, and harms them psychologically and physically. In order to understand the choices that women make and the psychological impacts of these practices, 211 it is important to consider the social and cultural contexts of these decisions. I argue that these contexts extend beyond the household to include the broader community. Further, I argue that the perpetuation of a patriarchal value system within each type of community helps explain why so few women on US college campuses decide to report sexual assault and why so few kidnapped brides in Central Asia decide to reject the marriage. In both settings, surprisingly similar dynamics come into play. Members of the broader community say and do things that, intentionally or unintentionally, reinforce the idea that these acts of violence against women are normal and acceptable. Similarly, when officials (at either the state or the university level) deny social, legal, and moral support to victims, they help reinforce rape culture and kidnap culture. The Victims of Patriarchy I begin by providing two vignettes that introduce the social practices of kidnap culture and rape culture and their psychological impacts. The first illustrates a case of nonconsensual bride kidnapping in southern Kazakhstan, where I have done field research (Werner 2004, 2009), while the second portrays the sexual assault of a young US college student. — In the late 1990s, a 19-year-old woman named Aizhan Bakytzhanov was abducted against her will by a fellow student named Marat Tursunbekov while traveling from her rural hometown to the small city of Turkestan, Kazakhstan, where she was attending the university.1 Aizhan had been dating another young man but wanted to complete her university degree before getting married. Marat was a close acquaintance from high school. On the day of the abduction, Marat and three friends waited for Aizhan to exit the train station and then deceived her by casually offering her and her aunt a ride home. The two women trusted him and therefore accepted the offer to save the hassle of taking a taxi. Marat first dropped off Aizhan’s aunt, and then turned around and started to drive to his parents’ home in the village. When Aizhan realized that he was kidnapping her, she started to struggle and begged him to take her home. His friends responded by grabbing her arms and holding her in place. Along the way, the men stopped the car to drink shots of vodka. Aizhan tried to escape by running across the wide-open steppe, thinking that if she could avoid going to his house, then maybe she could get out of 212Werner the situation without anybody knowing. After a short chase, the four men grabbed her and forced her back...


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