The Aventina

Yes, Child Marriage Occurs in the US and it’s not as Uncommon as you Think

Raffaella Jarvis, Reporter, Club Leader

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Many are aware of child marriage around the world, particularly in developing countries, but what few people realize is that it’s prevalent in the US as well. Child marriage is legal in half of the 50 states in the US.

A now 58-year-old Sherry Johnson, Florida, recounts her traumatic story of when she was forced into marriage at 11 years old. Her spouse was 18 when he raped and impregnated her. Instead of reporting him, her parents would have rather had their daughter be victim to abuse and a constrained marriage rather than causing a scandal. “Instead of putting the handcuffs on him and sending him to prison, they put the handcuffs on me and imprisoned me in a marriage.”, Johnson says. The first time she brought it up in 2013, few listened to Johnson’s story. People were unaware that child marriage still happens in the US.

From 2000 to 2010, 250,000 children were married to adults with almost all of the minors being girls. Some were as young as 10.

Girl Scout Cassandra Levesque started a campaign against the New Hampshire law, which states that anyone over the age of the 13 is legally allowed to marry. The 17-year-old was shut down by a couple of male representatives that convinced people that a minor shouldn’t be allowed to fight for things as she’s too young to participate in them. Levesque replied “Girls who get married before 18 have a significantly higher risk of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and strokes and a higher risk of psychiatric disorders. They are 50% more likely to drop out of high school and run a higher risk of living in poverty. They are also three times more likely to become victims of domestic violence. Really, child marriage helps no one. The only people who benefit are pedophiles.”

If you are interested in this topic and want to know more, here is a video you can find online:

Survivors of Child Marriages Speak Out | Iris

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The student news site of St. Stephen's School
Yes, Child Marriage Occurs in the US and it’s not as Uncommon as you Think