US states seek to end child marriage – Al Jazerra

In 1970 Sherry Johnson was 10 years old when she was first raped by a member of her church in Tampa, Florida. After getting pregnant, she was forced at the age of 11 to marry her rapist by her parents and church community. Her mother took her to their county courthouse to get a marriage license; that judge refused. So they went to a nearby county where a judge did sign off. She was married to her 20-year-old groom at the courthouse. Sherry had five more children before she was able to file for divorce when she was 18 years old. While this was almost five decades ago, the law that allowed this to happen is still on the books in almost every US state.

Child, early, and forced marriages are not uncommon. According to Unchained at Last, a group that works to end these practices, more than 167,000 young people under the age of 17 were married in 38 states between 2000 and 2010. For the remaining 12 states, data is not available.

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