Sherry Johnson from Florida, shares her story of how at the young age of 11, she was forced to marry her rapist.
Her parents decided she will marry her rapist
How would you feel if you were 11 years old, playing with your toys, and suddenly your parents came up to you and told you that you will be getting married?
You’ll feel confused right? Now, what if the person that you’ll be marrying is someone who also raped you?
That’s exactly what happened to Sherry Johnson back when she was just a child. She shared that she was raped by a 20-year-old member of their church when she was just 11, and she had gotten pregnant as a result. Child welfare authorities started an investigation, and to avoid a long and complicated criminal case, her parents decided that she will just have to marry her rapist.
She shares, “My mom asked me if I wanted to get married, and I said, ‘I don’t know, what is marriage, how do I act like a wife?’ She said, ‘Well, I guess you’re just going to get married.'”
Her marriage also prevented her from going to school, since she had to take care of her children; she ended up giving birth to 9 children, and she constantly fought with her husband over money. “It was a terrible life,” she shared.
And unsurprisingly, her marriage failed, just like with most child marriages.
Every 7 seconds, a girl gets married before the age of 15
In the United States, there are some states, such as Florida, and New Jersey, that still allow child marriages as long as there is consent from the parents. The sad part is that until today, no laws that ban child marriage has been enacted.
Around the world, child marriages are still happening. Even if there are countries who don’t allow children under the age of 18 to get married, a lot of child marriages occur under the radar. This is especially true for some countries who follow traditional religious customs that allow children to get married.
Worldwide, a girl gets married before the age of 15 every 7 seconds. Children should not be subjected to that kind of responsibility at such a young age. Children should be playing with their friends, running around, going to school, and doing all the things that children should do.
If you wish to support the ban on child marriage around the world, kindly visit girlsnotbrides.org to learn about how you can help.
READ: Mom shares heartbreaking video of how her husband sexually abused her daughter
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