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Fighting to End Child Marriage

Child marriage is still legal in 48 states. The ongoing fight to change this for good is personal for the founder of Unchained At Last.

Child Brides in the U.S.

Child marriage is legal in most of the U.S. 48 states allow marriage before the age of 18. Fraidy Reiss is working to change that through her nonprofit Unchained At Last — which she started after leaving and abusive marriage. She found out that 248,000 children as young as 12 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. In state after state, children can be entered into marriages without any say from them — completely disempowered throughout that process. And then because children do not have the right to bring legal action in their own name in most states, that typically means they're not even allowed to file for divorce once they've been entered into these marriages.

“My family arranged my marriage at 19 to a stranger who turned out to be violent. And I was trapped in that marriage for 15 years when I finally managed to escape with my two daughters. My family shunned me. They still consider me dead more than a decade later. Setting a marriage age at 16 or 17 does not help — almost all the children who marry in the United States are 16 or 17. Forced marriage and child marriage are happening everywhere. There is no one community or one culture or one ethnicity that we can point to and say, "That's where the problem is. They need to fix that." No, we all need to fix this.

In May 2018, she helped pass a bill banning marriage before 18 in Delaware — And then in New Jersey a month later. Since 2011, Unchained has helped over 500 women and girls leave forced marriages. Reiss says that oftentimes, It’s the parents who force the marriage and the consequences can be devastating. After the success in Delaware and New Jersey, Reiss is working to pass legislation in more states to end marriage before 18.

Brut.

07/16/2019 1:27 PM
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41 comments

  • Lori H.
    02/15/2020 18:57

    Not for long if the refugees get sharia law approved

  • Karen N.
    08/01/2019 02:38

    But what about those teen pregnancies....if they are old enough to have a child then they are old enough to be married. Most of these kids are close to same age.

  • Judy L.
    07/30/2019 21:27

    And we thought only the Middle East did this, wow everyone pointing fingers should be looking as close as home

  • Darlene R.
    07/28/2019 14:43

    And this is christian men.

  • Jill C.
    07/28/2019 13:01

    If you are 17 years old you must apply for the license with both parents (or the person with legal custody). They will need to sign the consent portion of the application. If you are 16 or 15 years old, you must petition the Circuit Court via a "Permission to Marry" form. Indiana law

  • Margene B.
    07/28/2019 04:34

    In Utah technically by law parents can wed their children off at the age of 15.

  • Victoria K.
    07/28/2019 02:07

    48???! Wow! I thought in this day and age that law would have been changed to legal age of 18 instead of child brides. It's a real shame it's legal still in 48 states and other parts of the world

  • Tammy P.
    07/24/2019 22:44

    It’s unbelievable!!!!

  • D Y.
    07/22/2019 05:28

    Your problem is obviously your family, not the law...

  • Barb A.
    07/19/2019 23:16

    If you can't drink till you're 21 then why should you be able to marry before said age?

  • Debb G.
    07/19/2019 15:35

    I got married at 17 but I chose to we were together for42 until his death. We had our up and downs but I choose it.

  • Devin P.
    07/19/2019 03:12

    I can see it now, blaming trump for this lol

  • Iman N.
    07/18/2019 19:47

    might be helpful

  • جمال ا.
    07/18/2019 10:06

    WHAT❤

  • Samruddhi B.
    07/18/2019 06:51

    Love feminists ❤

  • Malek A.
    07/17/2019 17:29

    How can a child not file for a divorce but yet file to get married.

  • Stacy M.
    07/17/2019 16:08

    This is NOT ok for any woman/girl not to be able to choose who she marries and when. Whose moronic idea was it to ok this?? Let me guess....a man!

  • Jeremy L.
    07/17/2019 14:49

    At 19 yor an adult you could have left

  • Ayaz M.
    07/17/2019 10:22

    That's pathetic and hilarious. The US of America, the "so called" leader of the free world 🤣🤣🤣🤣 SHAME SHAME SHAME

  • Rana A.
    07/17/2019 09:58

    You can get married.. drive.. carry firearm. But FU if you drink!