Child marriage (marriage under 18) is a serious, but neglected problem, right here in the United States. Recent research by the Tahirih Justice Center and others has uncovered the alarming truth: more than 200,000 children — mostly girls — have been married since 2000 across the country because of negligent and outdated laws.
Among other alarming consequences, girls who marry underage are 50% more likely to drop out of high school and four times less likely to complete college, are much more likely to live in future poverty, suffer more medical and mental health problems, face divorce rates of up to 80%, and are more vulnerable to domestic violence.
Spurred by our advocacy, Virginia in 2016 passed a Tahirih-drafted law to protect vulnerable children from forced or coerced marriage and other harm. Since then, more states have joined this national movement, recognizing that similar reforms are desperately needed across the country. Read more about Tahirih’s groundbreaking national campaign and find background research here.
At this crucial juncture in the movement to end child marriage in the United States, we need as many allies as possible!
If child marriage in the United States hits home for you, we’re asking for your help. We want to hear from survivors, as well as professionals who have encountered child marriage cases in their work, to show the public and policymakers why marriage before 18 has devastating consequences and should be eliminated.
Child marriage is a global problem, and we’re part of it. Please join us to be part of the solution.
If you are now over the age of 18 and interested in sharing your experiences with Tahirih Justice Center, please fill out the contact form below. A Tahirih staff member may contact you to talk about the many different ways that you could share all or part of your story, publicly or anonymously. Opportunities vary from media interviews to one-paragraph case examples on our website.
Please provide as much information as is comfortable for you to share. We will only use this information to enable us to contact you, and we will not make it public in any way without your permission.
To recap, please fill out this contact form only if you are:
- Over 18;
- In a safe and secure place now to share your story; and
- Have suffered negative consequences from a child marriage that took place in the U.S. (whether it took place by choice, or by force), or are a professional who has worked on a case like this.
If you are in need of current assistance with a forced marriage, however, please contact our Forced Marriage Initiative at FMI@tahirih.org or 571-282-6161.