Only nine states still allow exceptions to the age of marriage during pregnancy, as such exceptions have been used to cover up rape and force girls to marry their rapists. Take the example of Sherry Johnson, who said she was repeatedly raped as a child and was pregnant at 11 when her mother forced her to marry her 20-year-old rapist under Florida`s pregnancy exemption in the 1970s. There is no single justification for child marriage. Some marry according to religious or cultural traditions. Others do so to avoid the legal repercussions of sexual activity with minors. [27] Traditionally, particularly in developing countries, one of the most common reasons for child marriage has been to avoid the negative stigma associated with premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. By mediating the marriage of minors, usually girls and boys or men who have had sex before marriage, families try to save face and maintain respect within the community. [28] Young women are more likely to be married than young men. [30] According to Pew Research Center statistics (based on the American Community Survey), 55% of child brides aged 15 to 17 surveyed were girls. [31] According to an article in Frontline, 87% of all minors who married between 2000 and 2015 were girls. [32] Koski and Heymann found that child marriage was higher among girls than boys (6.8 versus 5.7 per 1,000, or ~19% difference).

[27] Most of the available statistics and literature on child marriage examine female minors as opposed to male minors. According to the Unchained At Last study, about 86% of children who have married in the United States have children. Between 2000 and 2018, there were girls – and most were married to adult men who were on average four years older. [13] While the numbers at home are nowhere near as bad, they are alarming. Many child brides between 2000 and 2010 were married to adults significantly older than them, according to the data. At least 31% were married to a spouse aged 21 or older. (The actual number is likely higher, as some states did not provide a spouse`s age.) Some children were married at an age or with an age difference in the woman that constitutes legal rape under their state laws. In Idaho, for example, a person 18 or older who has sex with a child under 16 can be charged with a felony and jailed for up to 25.

Data from Idaho — which had the highest rate of child marriage among the states that provided data — shows that between 2000 and 2010, about 55 girls under the age of 16 were married to men 18 or older. Most states did not provide identifying information about children, but Unchained has seen child marriage in nearly every American culture and religion, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular communities. We`ve seen it in families who have been in America for generations, and in immigrant families around the world. In my experience, parents who marry off their minor children are often motivated by cultural or religious traditions; the desire to control their child`s behaviour or sexuality; money (bride price or dowry); or immigration reasons (e.g., if a child is sponsoring a foreign spouse). And, of course, many minors marry of their own free will – although our laws do not allow children in most areas of life to make such decisions by high-stakes adults. State age of consent laws and age of marriage laws are incompatible with each other. In some states, it is possible for minors to marry legally, even if they have not reached the age of consent in that state. Between 2000 and 2015, at least 200,000 minors were legally married in the United States. 86% of these marriages took place between this minor and an adult. About 5% of minors were 15 years of age or younger, meaning they would not have reached the age of consent in all U.S. territories.

[32] Betsy Layman, 37, shared Paulin`s goal. Laie was 27 when she escaped the arranged marriage for her in her Orthodox Jewish community in New York at the age of 17, to a man she had known for 45 minutes. Even after she fled with her three children, the effects of her marriage continued to plague her. She was a single mother with a high school diploma, no work experience, and no money for childcare. The temporary and part-time jobs she got could not cover the bills. This table refers to state marriage laws and attempts to summarize some of their key points. Those interested in the matrimonial law of a particular jurisdiction should examine its law directly, rather than relying on this summary, which may not be entirely accurate or complete. Unchained At Last, a nonprofit organization I founded to help women resist or escape forced marriage in the United States, spent the last year collecting data on marriage licenses from 2000 to 2010, the last year for which most states were able to provide information. We learned that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children – almost all girls, some as young as 12 – were married during that time, mostly to men aged 18 and older. Twelve states and the District of Columbia could not provide information on the number of children who married there during the decade. Based on the correlation we found between the state`s population and child marriage, we estimated that the total number of child brides in America between 2000 and 2010 was nearly 248,000. According to data from Anjali Tsui, Dan Nolan, and Chris Amico, who studied nearly 200,000 cases of child marriage from 2000 to 2015: Between 2000 and 2018, nearly 300,000 minors were legally married in the United States.

[13] The vast majority of child marriages in the United States have occurred between a minor girl and an adult male. [13] [14] [15] In many cases, minors were in the United States. can be married if they have not reached the age of sexual consent, which varies between 16 and 18 depending on the state. [16] In some states, minors cannot legally divorce or leave their spouses, and domestic violence shelters generally do not accept minors. [17] [18] Historically, child marriage was a culturally acceptable practice, but today it is increasingly seen as a form of child sexual abuse. [19] [20] Some international organizations, including the U.S. State Department, have declared this a human rights violation. [21] Some researchers have concluded that child marriage has consequences; In addition to the threat of sexual abuse, children may be exposed to reduced education, early pregnancy and psychological trauma.

[22] [23] Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are the only states where 18 years of age marry. As of Jan. 1, 2019, California requires parents and partners of minors who wish to marry to meet separately with court officials to determine whether coercion has occurred. In addition, minors must wait 30 days to marry, unless they are 17 years old and have graduated from high school or one of the partners is pregnant. However, there is still no minimum age for children to marry if these conditions are met. [86] In July 2018, Missouri raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 16. Parental permission is required. [96] In many states (but not Massachusetts),[2] a minor`s marriage automatically emancipates him or her or increases his or her legal rights beyond the minor`s permission to consent to certain medical treatments. [3] The loss of educational opportunities and influence is of particular importance to those who oppose child marriage. According to researchers like Martha Nussbaum, education is a crucial element in protecting one`s freedom or abilities.

[80] This, in turn, limits their autonomy and ability to work, making them dependent on their spouse or caregiver. [74] [81] There are not many federal laws on child marriage. In 2013, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act ordered the United States. The Minister of Foreign Affairs must “define and implement a multi-year, multi-sectoral strategy to end child marriage”. [82] In some states, marriage automatically emancipates a minor or increases his or her legal rights beyond the minor`s permission to consent to certain medical treatments. [66] [67] Emancipated minors are theoretically considered adults, so in some states they can seek injunctions, divorce, and receive social benefits, although these laws are not universal. [68] In practice, however, these minors may still face difficulties, as many institutions do not deal with minors or require parental consent. In May 2019, Georgia explicitly raised the age of marriage from 16 to 17. They must be emancipated minors, have completed a premarital education course and not be able to marry a person over four years of age.

The new law came into force on July 1, 2019. [91] [92] Ryan tells the story of women who were forced into marriage. She says it was under-reported and went unnoticed in the U.S. for decades. In April 2019, Arkansas, with parental consent, raised the minimum age of marriage for girls from 16 to 17 to match that for boys.

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