Nearly a quarter-million children as young as 12 were married in the US between 2000 and 2010, mostly girls wed to adult men.

This is one of the shocking facts about child marriage in America that Unchained At Last’s Fraidy Reiss reveals in an op-ed article published today on the front page of the Washington Post’s Outlook section. As of yesterday and into today, the article was one of the five most-read articles on the Post website.

Many of the children wed between 2000 and 2010 were married to an adult significantly older than they, the article shows. Some were married at an age, or with a spousal age difference, that constitutes statutory rape under their state’s laws.

“Despite these alarming numbers,” the article explains, “and despite the documented consequences of early marriages, including negative effects on health and education and an increased likelihood of domestic violence, some state lawmakers have resisted passing legislation to end child marriage.”

Read the full article here.

Ending Child Marriage in America

Unchained started and now leads a growing national movement to end child marriage in America. Unchained is working to pass legislation, state by state, to eliminate all marriage before 18, with no exceptions. New Jersey is closest to passing such a bill, while similar bills are pending in Massachusetts and Maryland.

To build support for this legislation, Unchained writes op-eds like the one published today in the Washington Post; hosts Chain-Ins to protest forced and child marriage; gives regular media interviews; and presents at conferences and other venues.

You Can Help

You can help end child marriage in America:

  • If you live in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey or New York, email your legislators to urge them to pass pending or soon-to-be-introduced legislation to end child marriage.
  • Join an upcoming Chain-In to protest forced and child marriage. The next Chain-In, scheduled for Valentine’s Day (February 14) in Albany, is also a One Billion Rising event.
  • Support Unchained financially. Even a small donation makes a big difference to a woman or a girl fleeing a forced marriage.
  • Stay updated on news about forced and child marriage in the U.S. “Like” Unchained on Facebook and follow Unchained on Twitter.
  • Volunteer your time to help a woman or a girl who is facing a forced marriage. Unchained relies on the kindness of pro bono attorneys, psychotherapists and others.