Child Marriage is an Affront to Women’s Empowerment – Huffington Post

To Empower Women, Begin with Protecting Girls

Today, our 24-hour news cycle is fraught with accounts of sexual misconduct and assault, intimidation in the workplace, and systemic gender inequity—leaving the national conscience a changed landscape. With the scar tissue still healing for victims and survivors, the #Metoo movement has ignited a long overdue empowerment revolution for women. Going into 2018, how can we best proceed to right some of the egregious wrongs that have plagued women from becoming the best versions of themselves emotionally, intellectually and professionally?

At this year’s end, the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is an opportunity to mobilize our voices to make violence against women not only illegal, but impossible. There are many culprits that stand in the way of the women’s empowerment movement and child marriage is a flagrant example. When it comes to this issue, our state laws fail to protect young girls, media coverage is underreported, legislators do the bare minimum, and the societal impact of a child subjected to marriage as young as 13— is left unaddressed. As advocates against child marriage, we need to call such unions for what they are—contracts conducive to extreme duress, harassment, and, in the worst of all cases, rape for at-risk minors.

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