Among the states with the highest rates of child marriages were Arkansas, Idaho and Kentucky.
.. A great majority of the child marriages involve girls and adult men. Such a sexual relationship would often violate statutory rape laws, but marriage sometimes makes it legal.
.. In New Hampshire, a girl scout named Cassandra Levesque learned that girls in her state could marry at 13.
.. “We’re asking the Legislature to repeal a law that’s been on the books for over a century, that’s been working without difficulty, on the basis of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project,” scoffed one state representative, David Bates
.. Legislators seem willing to marry off girls like Cassandra, but not to listen to them!
.. Johnson, the former 11-year-old unwitting bride who is now fighting for Florida to set a minimum marriage age (there is none now), says that her family attended a conservative Pentecostal church and that other girls of a similar age periodically also married. Often, she says, this was to hide rapes by church elders.
.. She says she was raped by both a minister and a parishioner and gave birth to a daughter when she was just 10 (the birth certificate confirms that). A judge approved the marriage to end the rape investigation, she says, telling her, “What we want is for you to get married.”
.. he ended up with pregnancy after pregnancy — nine children in all — while her husband periodically abandoned her.
.. “You can’t get a job, you can’t get a car, you can’t get a license, you can’t sign a lease,” she adds, “so why allow someone to marry when they’re still so young?”
.. If they try to flee an abusive marriage, they are turned away from shelters and may be treated as simple runaways.