Serial Dramas that Rely on Top Psychologists’ Theories are Changing Social Behaviors Worldwide

December 14, 2007 • Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Africa, Ethiopia, Daily Email Recap

In Ethiopia, it can be dangerous for a girl to leave the house. Not because of war, or weather, but “weddings”—specifically the long-standing cultural tradition of marriage by abduction.

Girls as young as 11 are surrounded by a gang of men or boys and then raped, beaten and forced to marry one. The girls cannot look to their families for help—they are fallen women now, and there is great social pressure to accept their fate.

Although marriage by abduction is illegal in Ethiopia, the United Nations Children’s Fund says that about 70 percent of marriages in that country are the result of kidnapping and rape.

But what if a group of villagers said, “We will not allow this to happen anymore!”

Thanks to a serialized radio program, that’s exactly what happened in Ethopia’s Amhara region. A radio serial drama brought these girls’ plight to life in a way that no simple educational announcement could, and villagers came together to demand that local authorities enforce the law.

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