Bride burning: where a wife is doused in kerosene, or a similarly flammable liquid, and then set on fire. Women rarely survive, and those that do are severely and permanently scarred on over half their body.
This unimaginable, extremely violent act is performed by the husband or his family, simply because the bride’s family has refused to pay an additional dowry. Bride burning, also known as a dowry death, primarily occurs in India and Pakistan.
8,000 women die each year from bride burning, with several thousands more injured from ‘kitchen fires’ that are most likely intentional.
Sadly, this crime is on the rise and has been a particularly growing problem for India, which has been taking some measures to try and curtail the volume of bride burnings.
First, in 1961, they passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, essentially making it illegal to demand a dowry as part of the wedding arrangements.
Second, in 1986, India’s Parliament officially started recognizing bride burning as a domestic violence crime, where convicted offenders could be sentenced to serve anywhere between 7 years up to life in prison.
Third, and more recently, various branches of local police and government, as well as non government organizations, have setup dedicated agencies to investigate reports, counsel women, and explore avenues to address the dowry issue.
Despite all this, dowry deaths are up 15-20 percent in some areas of India. And recent reports estimate 8,000 women die each year from bride burning, with several thousands more injured from ‘kitchen fires’ that are most likely intentional.
To learn more about the history of bride burning, Wikipedia has a comprehensive page outlining the origins, areas of occurrence, and various statistics surrounding this heinous act.
Visit our Take Action Now page to learn how you can join us in the fight against Bride Burning.