DID YOU KNOW CHILD MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN 46 STATES?
And just five years ago, it was legal in all 50.
Keep reading to learn more and take action.
① CHILD MARRIAGE LEGALIZES RAPE
(From EQUALITY NOW):
Q: What is the “statutory rape exception”?
A: Statutory rape is when one of the parties to sexual activity is below the age of consent. It does not have to be forcible, because a minor is not legally able to consent. 18 U.S.C. Section 2243(a), on the Sexual Abuse of a Minor, applies when a person “knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person” who is between the ages of 12 and 16 and is at least four years younger than the perpetrator. 18 U.S.C. Section 2243(c)(2) allows a defense to this crime when “the persons engaging in the sexual act were at that time married to each other.” This means that, at the federal level, child marriage is viewed as a valid defense to statutory rape.
This law not only suggests that the federal government condones the practice of child marriage,it allows an adult to engage in sexual activity with children as young as 12, and gives sexual predators an incentive to force a child to marry them. The law can effectively turn child marriage into a “get out of jail free” card for predators. This law must be repealed. Repealing 18 U.S.C. § 2243(c)(2) is a simple, commonsense step towards aligning U.S. laws with international standards and discouraging child marriage and rape in the U.S.
② 20 STATES DO NOT REQUIRE ANY MINIMUM AGE FOR MARRIAGE
③ CHILD MARRIAGES ARE NOT INNOCENT TEEN LOVE STORIES
Most of these marriages are young girls coerced by parents into marrying adult men many times their age.
④ CHILD MARRIAGE IS CHILD ABUSE & ENTRAPMENT AND IS ASSOCIATED WITH SUICIDE
Once married, guardianship is frequently transferred over to the spouse, and girls who flee are classified as runaways and forced to return to the very abuser they were trying to escape.
Agencies working with girls facing or fleeing forced marriages report that nearly all have contemplated or attempted suicide (Tahirih Justice Center).
⑤ CHILD MARRIAGE PERPETUATES EDUCATIONAL INEQUITIES
Girls who marry under age 19 are 50% more likely to drop out of high school and 4x less likely to graduate college (Tahirih Justice Center).
⑥ CHILD MARRIAGE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTS GIRLS
87% of minors married are girls. In New Hampshire, a law that has been on the books since 1907 allows girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 to marry. In Massachusetts, girls can legally marry at 12, while boys can at 14. Both states require a judge’s approval and at least one parent’s consent.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Students Against Child Marriage is calling upon the Biden Administration to end child marriage through executive order in its first 100 days. We need YOU to join us in this fight.
On Monday, we will be flooding social media with educational content and immediate online actions that anyone can take. This crisis exists because people don’t know about it. We need you to follow our account, share our posts, and activate your followers. Please join us as an active partner to help us end this abuse once and for all! We can make a difference, but we can’t do it alone.
FOLLOW STUDENTSAGAINSTCHILDMARRIAGE ON INSTAGRAM.