A nineteen year old Russian girl is facing prison after she married a 13 year old boy and had a baby with him.
The bride, who is identified as Bilana B, could face charges and a jail sentence of three to ten years for having sex with a child under the age of 14.
The couple ‘married’ after the boy persuaded the older teen to elope with him. He has also quit school to get a job and look after her and their new child.
The pair are gypsies and said their relationship is normal in their culture, but police said it is in breach of Russian law and have launched a criminal investigation.
In an interview with Russian media the boy said got his older bride to elope with him from her parents’ home in the south-western city of Stavropol.
He claims he initiated the relationship after he got her telephone number from a relative. He then began chatting her up on the phone
He said: “We were talking on the phone for less than two weeks, then I came to her place by car and she left with me.”
As he is not old enough to drive, he had to persuade his grandparents to go there with him.
Words fail me
The boy’s grandmother said: “They didn’t have a real wedding, it was very simple. We did not have money. All they did was bring a couple of bottles of vodka.”
It seems she could not throw the pair out as it is ‘their custom’
The boy has had to leave school to support his family financially.
He said: “Currently I am in the seventh grade at school. I am working to get some money, but plan on returning to school when I can.”
The 19 year old girl stated “(He) will be working, and I will be taking care of the family.”
I have to say, I am pretty clear about this one. Yes, in the gypsy culture, this may be considered normal, but I am a great believe that human rights trump any cultural differences. As soon as you start saying that it is OK for certain cultures to do stuff like this, you are making them the victim of low expectations. It is incredibly patronising and lets down people in those societies who need help the most.
So yes, she may be quite nice looking, and yes, it does seem normal for gypsies, but yes, the Russian authorities should throw the book at her. I understand in that culture, women don’t get as much say in the way their lives are run. But the day we accept that as OK should never come.
So am I being too harsh? Should we be more culturally sensitive? Let us know in the comments box below!
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