BBC News report on underage marriage still legal in some parts of the United States

BBC News report on underage marriage still legal in some parts of the United States


In the coming weeks the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool will do a series of reports looking at issues you may not associate with the United
States and he starts these reports in Idaho. What happened to Angel McGehee here
in America may seem unexpected she feels her childhood was torn away from her at
the age of just 13 she says her mother forced her into a marriage. After years
of feeling there was no way out she finally escaped and is speaking out
about her child marriage for the first time. I was a slave to my ex I was a
slave to this you know idea that my mother wanted us just all be together
and for me to have kids so young and to do all of that I still have all of this
emotional baggage of wanting to have done something with my life by now, but
haven’t been able to because I was too busy taking care of kids. It is really
all the time that I think about what I could have done or could have been. Angel’s marriage fits an international
pattern of child brides being far more likely not to get an education and to
face violent abuse. Well we might be talking about Angel’s story here in rural
Idaho but this is a national problem because children are permitted to marry
across this country with some states having no set minimum marriage age at
all. We extrapolate from the data and estimate that in all 50 states including
the 12 states that don’t track the data approximately a quarter of a million
children were married in America in between 2000 and 2010. And again if we
look at the data that we do have from the 38 states we know this is
overwhelmingly girls to adult men. Sheri Johnson is trying to convince
politicians in her home state of Florida to change the laws that allowed her to
be forced to marry – at the age of just 11. I got married to my rapist. Umm, the guy that raped me. Actually my mother saw fit for me to marry him, to make the situation of
me getting pregnant, I can say, to make it look better overall. So versus putting the handcuffs on him at 20 years of age, you actually put
the handcuffs on me at 11. For many it is shocking to see those numbers in black
and white on an American marriage certificate. Shocking still to know that
in much of the country there is nothing to stop it happening again today. Aleem Maqbool, BBC News.

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