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[T]here was, in the olden days, marriage by capture. The Protectorate of Sierra Leone was, up to the turn of this century, the battle ground for tribal wars. Men saw in these wars an opportunity of winning wives for themselves. An attack upon a town or village resulted in the extermination of the male inhabitants and the capture of the women, who subsequently became the wives of their conquerors. No requirement was essential for the validity of such marriage other than a public declaration by the captor of his intention to cohabit with his captive followed by actual cohabitation. Such wife was, however, regarded as a slave.... Nowadays, there are no longer inter-tribal wars in the country and, with the abolition of slavery in 1928, this kind of marriage no longer exists." (1) I.S., ... abducted and gang raped by the West Side Boys from January to August 1999, explained how Commander "Blood" had initiated the "wife" selection process: "One of the commanders said he was going to amputate all of us. But another commander, C.O. Blood, said 'Don't kill them, let's chose them as wives.' Then we were divided up. The one who seemed to be in charge, C.O. Blood, chose me. When he looked at me I was frightened. His pupils were huge--he was high on drugs. He took me to a house and told me to lie down on the ground. He said if I did not allow him to have sex, he would kill me." (2)

Professional & Technical
22 September
Columbia Journal of Gender and Law
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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