STOLEN MARRIAGE

Women abduction is traced back to early centuries and was a very popular tradition in the Caucasus, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, Greece, etc. Fellows used to abduct young ladies in order to marry them, without their consent. In most countries, such actions are considered evidence of violence. Georgia is not an exception to the rest of the world, but it is a place, where abduction still occurs and incidents still frequently exist.This photo project is about the family, the conception of two people living together for twenty-two years, remembering their own story, their own marriage; it’s about the will of a man and the weakness of a woman, about their children and their future. This is a project about the forgiven unforeseen destiny, about stolen opportunities, giving up and getting used to fortune in exchange for finding alternative meanings of life, passion for living, for caring and love.

"I was 23 years old. Elza (wife) hosted my neighbor, she arrived from Kobuleti. I felt incited to marry her, I was told that there was not a girl like her in our village.

“What a girl has come, such a beautiful, good girl.” Elza was 16 years old. She visited my neighbour, I cheated and made her come out of the house. Then I put her on my back and..

Elza: It’s a bit.. a bit hard for a 16 year old girl to get married. I have 3 girls and…
Giorgi: What would you be doing?
Elza: 16 years old should still be going to school.
Giorgi: Wait, wasn’t our daughter 18 years when she got married?
Elza: She was 19.
Giorgi: Dariko was 19?
Elza: Yes.
Giorgi: So, whats the problem? She was just on time.
Elza: Parents always want the best for their children, but one can never avoid his destiny.
Giorgi: I would love to take care of them till they build up their own families. I don't want them to be enchanted with money, the most important is the home full of love.
Elza: The most important in the family is mutual understanding, love and health.
Elza: But why should a 16 year old child get married? Nobody should hurry at least until they are 25 years old.

Dariko, 20 (daughter): I was already 12 years old when Mariam was born. I raised her up. As my mom was busy all the time, Mariam had to stay with me. Sometimes I used to pinch her in order to make her cry and then I could go outside. It was even harder for me in the summer, when all my peers were playing in the yard, I could not go out with my sister. But while thinking of it now, it’s a really good feeling to have a little sister. Its very hard for her when we are apart from each other; she wants me to always be here.

Dariko: " If anybody would abduct me… its hard to speak about it. I think, I would leave him, but its very difficult to leave.

Families split up even when couples know each other well; and when you don’t know a boy, maybe you have just seen him once, its very difficult. I don’t even know.. I think I would leave and would not stay there."


Natia,16 (daughter), "I am very much against the abduction. At the end, it’s the 21st century and such kind of things shouldn’t happened anymore and be punishable by law. I think, I would not stay in that family. If it’s not a girl’s will no one is allowed to make a decision on behalf of her neither parents nor the boy. If I get married, he should be such a type of person, who will not forbid me to either study, or anything else. He should allow me to do anything what I would do while being in my family"

Elza: I have always known Giorgi (husband) from childhood. But there was a big difference between the ages. I don’t know, it was too far from me the thoughts about getting married. Nowadays youngsters think differently and I was thinking totally differently. I don’t know. I was a child, I wanted to study. At that time I finished 9 class and wanted to study foreign languages in Batumi. Yes, but I don’t know, it just happened like this, I got married and then stayed here in this Imereti. Family and children are a wealth. I don’t have anything apart this in my life. I imagine it is like a tree that strikes roots; and you translocate one seedling, two seedlings, three, four… and all of them are like seedlings. Now I have also a grandchild, he is a big seedling; and life goes on like this. One will not own more than this in life.

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