Dr. Trevicia Williams is a Texas child bride survivor. Her mom picked her up from ninth grade and carried her to a justice of the peace, where she was told she would marry a 26-year-old ex-convict.
When Williams tells that story, people snap to attention: “People are shocked that this type of thing is happening in America.”
But Williams’ marriage was entirely legal in Houston in 1983; things only changed last year. In June 2017, Texas joined other states in massive reforms that prompted headlines proclaiming “Texas Just Banned Child Marriage.”
But we didn’t. While young people under 18 can no longer be forcefully married as a result of a parent’s whim or if they were pregnant, 16- and 17-year-old emancipated minors can still wed.
Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense