February 28, 2021
It's shocking to most people to hear that in the United States, child marriage is still an issue. When speaking on behalf of Global Hope 365 about ending child marriage, people assume that I am talking about a topic that impacts young girls on the other side of the globe. Yes, it is a global issue, and in the United States, there are more than 248,000 minors, mainly girls married to adult men from 2000-2010 who were victims of child marriages as well.
A child marriage typically involves a girl under the age of eighteen marrying an older adult male. Most people, when they think of child marriages, have an image of young love. Two young lovers are running off to get married. That is not the case. 80% of child marriages involve a young girl experiencing coercion to be forcibly married off to a much older man.
Often the marriage is used to cover up a crime such as statutory rape which may involve pregnancy as well. If the child is married to her rapist, then he will not be charged for his crime. Girls forced into early marriage lose their childhood and so much more. Most girls are forced to drop out of school. Without education, they endure extreme poverty that limits their future. They suffer a continuous cycle of abuse. Being married to their abuser makes it difficult to access help.
Here are some of the statistics about child marriage in the United States:
50% dropout of school.
89% experience domestic violence.
80% of these marriages eventually end in divorce.
Girls who marry young are four times less likely to graduate college.
Experience a 37% higher rate of living in poverty.
Children are at a 28% greater risk of dying in childbirth.
Suffer long-term physical and emotional health issues.
A compelling June 30, 2020 report from CBS News titled Child Marriage is "extremely prevalent in the US. "The Cycle Perpetuates Across Generations." describes the struggle of child marriage victims.
A video titled "CBSN Originals/ Marriage" included with the article has victims and survivors of child marriage sharing their personal stories, how it happened, what it took to gain their freedom, and what the long-term effects have been. It includes the story of an eleven-year-old girl forced by her family to marry her rapist. Their stories are shocking and may be hard to watch. Unfortunately, they are not unique. Child Marriages are happening to our girls in this country every day.
The United Nations published a report documenting the systematic abuse of women and girls globally. The analysis starts with this statement:
"NEW YORK--Every year, millions of girls are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge, and consent of their families, friends and communities, according to the State of World Population 2020, released today by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. "
They go on to say that 33,000 girls are forced into child marriages daily. I’ve included a link to a PDF of the full report if you would like further education on this issue from a global perspective.
A section on child marriage in the United States begins on page 103. The UNFPA is committed to ending Child Marriage by 2030.
There is a solution to ending child marriages, and you can help.
Support the “No Child Marriage No Exceptions” Laws.
Did you know that Child Marriage is ILLEGAL in only four states in the United States?
In the additional 46 states, children can marry with their parents and /or judicial consent. The lack of legal protection allows children to enter a legal contract that takes away their rights to sovereignty and gives their abuser’s the legal right to continue the abuse.
Global Hope 365, the California Coalition to End Child Marriage, and our partners are working on adopting legislation that restricts marriage to a contract between two consenting adults at a minimum age of 18. These rulings are called "No Child Marriage, No Exceptions" laws.
We are working tirelessly, city by city in California, and advocating across the country to change the law. We have now passed resolutions unanimously in Irvine, Anaheim, Newport Beach, Yorba Linda, and Fullerton and just recently our resolution passed in Mission Viejo also.
How can you Help?
Pass a Resolution in Your City or County
Global Hope 365 has drafted a nonbinding resolution to be passed by City Councils and County Supervisory Boards.
Global Hope 365 can provide support in presenting that resolution.
If you have a connection with your City Council or County Supervisory Board, please let us know.
Join our letter-writing campaign. We made it very simple to participate. Go to our website and click on the Advocacy page. We have a digital letter-writing campaign set up for California and the rest of the country. Get your family and friends involved.
Together we can make a difference and end this abuse of our children. Take a stand to end Child Marriage.
Global Hope 365 supports the rights of children to have a safe childhood free from child marriage. Our nonprofit supports children's rights that prevents marriage until the age of 18 with no exceptions, in any and all circumstances. State laws that allow for marriage when a girl is pregnant may end up protecting a rapist. Join our fight to protect the freedom, health, and education of children and protect them from this form of Child Abuse.
To learn more about Global Hope 365’s work to end Child Marriage in this county.
Global Hope 365 site- Global Hope 365.org.
California Coalition site- https://cacoalitiontoendchildmarriage.org/