How the Fu#& is Child Marriage a Thing in 2019?
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How the Fu#& is Child Marriage a Thing in 2019?

You won't believe where this is happening

How the Fu#& is Child Marriage a Thing in 2019?

Imagine a place where an nine-year-old girl gets raped, is pregnant by ten, and then forced to marry to her rapist by age 11. Imagine a place where an eleven year old girl is raped by a 32 year old man and then forced to marry him and carry his child. Imagine a place where, over a period of 10 years, 248,000 underage girls are married to older men.

What kind of place are you imagining? A third world country perhaps? A place with backward religious beliefs and cultural behaviors that make it ok to subjugate children? A place where young girls are treated as property to be betrothed to older men? This place exists and all of these things are happening to hundreds of thousands of children.

Should we allow this to happen? Can we remain neutral under the cloak of cultural relativism? Our government doesn't think so. The U.S. State Department has said that the forced marriage of children under the age of 18 is a human rights violation. In fact, our government spends millions of dollars every year opposing forced marriages abroad. There are also global advocacy groups like Girls Not Brides and UNICEF that report on and combat forced child marriage.

With so much opposition how is it that a country, in 2019, can still allow something as horrific as forced child marriage? What kind of morals must that country have? Before you judge, consider how a society might behave when their holy book, the central tenet of their faith, gives instruction on rape and slavery? The rape and selling of young girls, specifically. With verses like "If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days." Or "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. But if the slave's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter." With verses like those, it is a bit easier to understand how a society could excuse such heinous acts. Their holy books condone it.

Back to the action. In addition to the current efforts to curb these heinous acts, what can we do to stop this? The uncomfortable answer is, look in the fucking mirror. Those Bible verses were Deuteronomy 22:28 and Exodus 21:7, respectively, and these travesties are occurring in the United States of America. Home of the free, minus the hundreds of thousands of children who are currently in forced marriages where they are raped and forced to bear the children of their rapist.

Here are the stats, 48 out of 50 states allow children under the age of 18 to be married to an adult and, in over half of the states, there is no minimum age. Therefore, a 20 something male can legally marry a ten-year-old girl. Which is something that has happened, in Tennessee, at least three times. Additionally, In New Jersey, former governor Chris Christie, vetoed a proposed outright ban on child marriages, citing that the bill "does not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases, the religious customs, of the people of this State."

That seems to be the tenor of response or push back against banning this abhorrent behavior. It may infringe on the religious rights of people and therefore must be allowed. To be clear, that is saying that the religious right of a family trumps a child's right not to be forced into sexual slavery. So, a child is safe in Alabama from the moment of conception until they are old enough to be married off. I'm not just picking on the south here either, this shit is happening across the country and almost always it is protected by religious exemptions.

What can we do? We can start off by being openly critical about this kind of thing, speak up, and make people aware that this is happening. Especially religious people, as I assume this sort of thing is not accepted by all who worship. Support organizations like Unchained at Last, who research and advocate for the rights of children forced into marriage. States make their own marriage laws so contact your representative and demand that this nonsense stop. Stop allowing people to shield their disgusting behaviors with the cloak of religion or claims of cultural relativism. These are real children who are affected and they need help.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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