“The United States Department of State calls child marriage “gender-based violence.” The United States Agency for International Development calls it “a human rights abuse.” Across the board, our government condemns child marriage worldwide and provides funding for programs that fight this abuse overseas. But the U.S. government makes exceptions when it comes to children living in the U.S.
“The state laws within the United States do not align with our own internationally proposed standards of how other countries should treat their children. Forty-eight states are failing to protect girls from child marriage. They have dangerous loopholes and exceptions that allow for marriage, some even have no minimum age for marriage. Shockingly, it is legal for a U.S. citizen child to sponsor a visa for a foreign-born spouse or fiancé(e).”
Source: Federal Loophole Responsible for Countless Child Marriages in the U.S. – The AHA Foundation
As a strong supporter of the AHA Foundation, my sense of the American Public’s attitude about religious or culturally based violence against women is that it occurs in third world countries. Unfortunately, child marriages, among other travesties, also occur in the U.S.
Like Native American women who are swept into sex trafficking, women from third world countries who legally come to the United States are often swept into unwanted and often-abusive child marriages. I agree with the AHA’s assertion that “Putting in place a minimum age of 18 to sponsor a spousal/fiancé(e) visa is a simple, common-sense solution that would protect U.S. children from the very real threats associated with forced and child marriage.”
Today’s volatile political climate has lent itself to poetry, essays, articles, and novels as writers find themselves unable to keep silent. Good for them. I would like to see more novels in defense of women that explore child marriages in a country where the very concept is solidly against such practices.
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~Erma Bombeck
A few Americans are looking at New York City from the Statue of Liberty’s re-opened crown today. Many will see fireworks, if not in their home towns, but on television. Many are spending the day with family. Many are having–or will soon have–a fantastic meal. All of us who celebrate this day one way or another are enjoying what we have: freedom.
We did not achieve freedom easily; in fact, in the years leading up to the vote of Congress on July 2, 1776, most colonists were not seeking or expecting independence from England.
We have not kept freedom easily, whether one considers wars or laws or political debates or a catalogue of threats dealt with.
As we enjoy the day, perhaps we will put off thinking that we will not keep our freedom easily. We have the power to destroy ourselves or to maintain the best of what we’ve had even within the scope of ever-changing conditions and challenges.
It’s a matter we must see to, as those who’ve come before us have seen to it for 233 years. I hope we remain up to the task.