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Child marriage in the US: a worrying Reality

One of the world’s most advanced countries is home to one of the most reprehensible practices, commonly practised in certain developing countries. Human rights advocates argue that it must end in order to improve the education and lives of adolescents, as well as to reduce rates of domestic violence and unwanted pregnancies.


Unchained At Last believes that it is urgent to eliminate this practice, because it can easily turn into forced marriage. According to its website, those who have not reached the age of majority have limited legal rights and can therefore easily be forced into or remain in marriage.

In fact, children are generally unable to initiate legal proceedings, such as seeking a protection order or even divorce, unless they act through a guardian or other representative.

Unchained At Last recalled that getting married at this age destroys almost every aspect of children’s lives, including their health, education and economic opportunities.

“People in the United States who married before the age of 18 report high rates of physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse during their marriage, as well as unwanted or unplanned pregnancies,” the organisation argued.

He further stressed that child marriage undermines statutory rape laws.

“In most states and under federal law, sex with a child, which would otherwise be considered felony rape, is legal within marriage. In those situations, the marriage licence becomes a get-out-of-jail-free card,” the source added.

Nearly 300,000 children as young as 10 years old were married in this nation between 2000 and 2018, mostly girls to adult men, research by Unchained At Last revealed.

At least 60,000 child marriages formalised in that period occurred at an age or with a difference in marital years that should have been considered a sexual offence. Child marriage is now legal in 42 of the 50 states of the Union and occurs at what experts consider an alarming rate, although the scourge negatively impacts the lives of the children involved.

In recent days it made news that in Vermont, as of next July, people who want to get married must be at least 18 years old to do so, according to a new law signed by Republican governor Phil Scott.

Thus, the district officially became the eighth in the country to end child marriage.

According to The Hill, the other seven states that have banned the practice for minors since 2018 are Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York and Minnesota.

Although West Virginia prevents people under the age of 16 from marrying, Unchained At Last considers it a weaker bill because the other territories set the legal age at 18. PL


(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Pixabay

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