By: KAYLA McDONALD
Child marriages around the world have become more prevalent day by day, and America’s rate for child marriages is having an alarmingly increasing rate. In America, children as young as the age of 12 can get married with parental consent in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire, according to the Marriage Age by State 2021. In an interview with CBS news, child marriage survivor Donna Pollard spoke out about child marriages and how a majority of them, including hers, came from an abusive relationship. Pollard was married to a man twice her age when she was 16 saying she had no other choice as her “perpetrator was in a position in authority over her.” In the US alone from 2000 to 2015 over 200,000 minors were married, and 80% of those marriages were girls with men that were twice their age, according to Frontline. Most states allow marriages with children over the age of 16 to take place if parental consent is given however, sometimes this causes loopholes in child marriages. In abusive relationships, threats can be made to parents in order to get their consent, and in some cases, the parents are the ones forcing their kid(s) into marriages. Pollard listed “horrific” cases of child marriages such as a 13-year-old girl in Kentucky being married to a 33-year-old, and a 15-year-old girl forced into a marriage with a 52-year-old man. Pollard also continues to state that there have been multiple cases where children have been forced to marry their rapist and birth their children. With child marriages on the rise, it is evident that state lawmakers need to put an end to them. Minnesota and Pennsylvania have recently put an end to child marriages with no exceptions. Pollard is the founder of Survivor’s Corner which helps and advocates for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and exploitation. Pollard is hopeful and says that “Minnesota and Pennsylvania have just helped us get 2 states closer to ending child marriages in the US”.