Shockingly, underage arranged marriages are legal in 38 states. In these 38 states, over 167,000 people aged 17 and younger were married between 2000 and 2010. The majority of these marriages are between younger girls and adult men. Most states require you to be 18 or older to be married, but there are exceptions in the case of pregnancy, parental consent, judicial approval, or any combination of those situations.
A New Hampshire Girl Scout, Cassandra Levesque, found out that girls in her state could technically get married at the age of 13.
One state representative, David Bates, scoffed:
“We’re asking the Legislature to repeal a law that’s been on the books for over a century, that’s been working without difficulty, on the basis of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project.”
So, I guess it’s okay to marry off 13-year-old girls, but not okay to listen to them? Yeah, great idea.
Here is Syeda’s story:
“Syeda was forced into marriage at age 16 in Pakistan. She went along with the marriage to her first cousin, a stranger to her, only after her father told her that was the only way she’d be allowed to attend college.”
“After her wedding, Syeda continued to live with her own parents, without her husband, and the family moved to the US. But when she was 25, her husband followed her to the US and moved in with her and her family – and he subjected her to unspeakable physical and sexual abuse. He also demanded that Syeda move with him back to Pakistan.”
“Syeda endured seven weeks of her husband’s abuse before her family threw her out of the house, because of her refusal to return with her husband to Pakistan. Syeda fled to a shelter.”
This is just one of the heartbreaking stories of arranged or forced marriages. It needs to stop.
Featured image via Twitter.