More than 700 million women alive today were married before 18, including some 250 million who wed before 15, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Of course, one person’s “parental consent” can be another’s “parental coercion,” but state laws typically do not call for anyone to investigate whether a child is marrying willingly.
Even in the case of a girl’s sobbing openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk usually has no authority to intervene.
The article described incorrectly a marriage in New Jersey in 2006 and another one in 1996.
In the 2006 marriage the groom was 18, not 10, while in the 1996 marriage the bride was 22, not 12.
Based on my own experience working with forced-marriage victims across the United States, I am sure many of these children had to marry against their will.
Forced marriage is a widespread but often ignored problem in the United States.The survey found child marriage or forced marriage, or both, in families of many faiths, including Muslim, Christian (particularly Catholic), Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh.I have seen child and forced marriage in the Orthodox Jewish community, and I know survivors from Mormon and Unification Church backgrounds.Unfortunately, the available records do not include any identifying details about marriages beyond the ages of the participants.Nevertheless, the data show that 3,481 children were married in New Jersey between 19.The data show that 3,853 children were married between 20.Data after 2010 excludes New York City, where statistics are kept separately.Across the world, child marriage and forced marriage disproportionately affect girls and women.Unchained at Last also requested health department data on the ages of people recently married in New York State, where 16- and 17-year-olds may wed with “parental consent” and 14- and 15-year-olds may wed with judicial approval.Forced and child marriages happen almost everywhere, yet only 10 states or jurisdictions have specific laws that can be used to prevent or punish forced marriage.The Tahirih survey focused on immigrants, and it identified child marriages or forced marriages, or both, in immigrant communities from 56 countries of origin in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, but it also identified such marriage in so-called American families.