American SPCC: It’s Time to End Child Marriage in the U.S.

Mar 8, 2018 | Advocacy, Child Abuse, Children, Childrens' Rights, Family, Sexual Exploitation, Youth & Teens

It’s legal in some states for girls age 12-13 to marry & boys at 14-15

Carlsbad, CA – March 8, 2018 – Child marriages don’t just occur in third-world countries. Approximately 200,000 children in the U.S. – primarily female – were married to adults between 2000 and 2015. The American Society for the Positive Care of Children (American SPCC) is working to increase awareness of the problem and end the victimization of children in America by child marriages.
Advocacy, Awareness and Education Initiatives | American SPCC
“It is so difficult to believe that in 2018, we are even having this conversation,” said Lietta Ryan, American SPCC executive director. “If an adult has sexual relations with a child, they are most definitely a pedophile. How does marrying a child change that? It doesn’t! They are still a predator and child abuser. We owe it to our kids to speak up. They need us more than ever.”
States attempting to address the issue often encounter opposition from other lawmakers and lobbying groups in the guise of protecting parental rights, effectively allowing the victimization of children to continue. This recently happened in Kentucky when a conservative group stalled the passing of bill SB 48 (outlaw child marriage). Following public outrage and a social media storm the bill was revised, finally winning approval with a 34-3 vote.
Background: Kentucky Bill To Outlaw Child Marriage Stalled Amid Conservative Concerns.
More Background: Bill to limit ‘child brides’ in Kentucky advances, but 3 senators don’t hold their peace.
In the U.S., it’s legal in some states for girls age 12-13 to marry and the age for boys is 14-15. Twenty-five states don’t set any age limit. Children at this age are cognitively incapable of making such important life decisions.
In some areas of the nation, children are pushed into an unwanted marriage if the child becomes pregnant, to lessen economic hardship, family shame, or to accommodate cultural customs.
All of America’s children deserve to be protected and feel safe no matter whether they are, especially at home or school. The U.S. is a superpower and the foremost advocate for human rights around the globe, yet it’s the only United Nations country that hasn’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty designed specifically to protect children.
“Allowing adults to marry children is morally wrong and it is clearly a violation of children’s rights,” said Ryan. “Why isn’t our government protecting our children, and why, as a country, are we not enraged by this? It’s time to let our legislators know that child marriage is unacceptable and children’s rights matter.”
American SPCC believes that as an educated nation, we have a responsibility to protect our country’s children. It’s time for change. Adults have an obligation to speak up and advocate for kids or this preventable abuse with continue.

Media Contact
Lietta Ryan
American SPCC – Executive Director

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