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Courage: Survivors of child marriage in Georgia share their stories

This publication tells the stories of seven women, victims of violence, who were forced to marry as children. Some were able to escape before marriage, and all have now gained their freedom. It is dedicated to everyone who decides to speak up about violence. By sharing these stories, we hope to remind people that girls and women have the right to live free from violence. 

Produced in collaboration with Goga Khatiashvili (the author), this publication aims to address the culture of silence around child and forced marriage in Georgia. Though many in Georgia may consider child marriage to be a thing of the past, a 2018 UNICEF report found that among women in Georgia aged 20-24, 14% were married by the age of 18.

The law in Georgia states that marriage is not allowed under the age of 18 under any circumstance. Families circumvent this by not officially registering a marriage involving a minor. Engagement parties and wedding celebrations are sometimes held, and once a couple lives together, they are viewed by their community as culturally married and are referred to as husband and wife.

Bride kidnapping as a form of forced marriage still remains a problem in Georgia. In the first 9 months of 2020 for example, the Ministry of Interior of Georgia registered 34 cases of bride kidnappings.

The names mentioned in the book have been changed, except for Tamam (Tami) Abulova and Chinara Kojaeva, who decided to openly share their stories.

Getting support in Georgia:

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by child marriage or domestic abuse, the following Georgian organizations and government services may be able to help.