The legal form of child abuse happening in the U.S. – Conversations with Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Event Description:

AHA Foundation’s campus program, the Critical Thinking Fellowship, hosts a virtual event with our founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to discuss the legal form of child abuse happening in the United States, child marriage. Ayaan stresses that child marriage is a form of modern-day slavery, trapping minors in lifelong contracts without their consent and depriving girls of education, which in turn perpetuates cycles of poverty.


The conversation touched on various factors contributing to child marriage, including religious justifications, tradition, and poverty. Ayaan challenges these justifications, asserting that education and empowerment are more effective solutions. While acknowledging that child marriage is illegal in the U.S., she criticizes the existence of legal loopholes that permit it in some states.


The conversation also delved into the effectiveness of programs to support girls against child marriage. Ayaan outlines three crucial components of successful programs: safety, education (both general and vocational), and psychological support. These elements can empower girls to escape forced marriages and lead fulfilling lives.


As of March 2022, this human rights abuse is allowed in 44 states. Children cannot consent to marriage, and all minors deserve to be protected from coercion or forced marriage, often at the hands of their parents or guardians. The State Department views child marriage as a human rights abuse abroad, so why is it allowed in almost every state? Why can children sponsor foreign adults to immigrate to the U.S., and marry them? Stand with us and help end this mistreatment of children.