Dawn Tyree, 51, didn’t have much of a childhood.
At 11, she says she was encouraged by her father and step-mother to spend time with a man 19 years her senior.
The man started to “groom” her, she says, giving her adult responsibilities, like driving a car, to make her feel older.
The man impregnated her with her first child at 13. He was 32.
“The solution was marriage,” Tyree tells TODAY.com. “Marriage covers up the rape, the sex abuse and the child endangerment.”
“The marriage saved him from a prison sentence,” she adds, “and essentially put me in a prison.”
In 1985, Tyree finished sixth grade. That summer, she was married.
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Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense