The family of Sherry Johnson protected members of their church congregation who had raped her when they forced the 11-year old into marrying her rapist.
ONE CHILD UNDER 16 IS MARRIED IN FLORIDA EVERY FEW DAYS
It has been revealed that at the very least one child under the age of 16 years is married in Florida every few days.
This is due to the fact that while many would call this underage marriage, in every state in the US it is legal, generally with getting the consent of a parent or of a judge.
Twenty-seven states in the US, alarmingly, have no minimum age for getting married.
A woman who was forced into marrying the man who had raped her when she was only 11 years old is now fighting to have this rule changed.
SHERRY JOHNSON IS FIGHTING TO CHANGE LAWS AFTER BEING MARRIED AT AGE 10
Sherry Johnson fell pregnant when she was just 10 years of age after being raped and then went on to give birth to a child, while Sherry was merely a child herself.
Sherry had been raped by a 20-year-old member of a church in Florida, along with the minister of that church.
The family of Sherry was among the church leaders and they chose, instead of pursuing criminal charges against the minister and man, to marry off their daughter.
She said that her mother had asked her if she wanted to get married and she had told her mother that she did not know what marriage was or to how to be a wife.
To that, her mother replied that she was going to get married anyway.
The marriage did not last long, but the psychological harm has remained.
It has been suggested that two in three marriages that involve young child brides do not last.
Sherry Johnson had to give up her education in elementary school so that she could raise the child and in total, she went on to give birth to nine children.
She remembers her life being terrible.
She went on to say that she could not get a job, a car, a license or a lease at that age, so why would someone allow a child that age to get married.
IN TEN YEARS 250,000 MINORS WERE MARRIED
Between 2000 and 2010 it was said that around 250,000 minors got married in the US.
These figures come from the anti-child marriage group with the name of Unchained at Last.
The United States has the highest rate of marriages of children that are underage and many of them have involved women and have been in the states of Arkansas, Idaho, and Kentucky.
The difference in age between those getting married may suggest that there have been violations of the laws regarding statutory rape; however, marriage is one way of making the sexual relationships legal.
GIRL SCOUT IS OLD ENOUGH FOR MARRIAGE, NOT OLD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT TO LISTEN TO
A girl scout living in New Hampshire, Cassandra Levesque, found out about the laws regarding child marriages and she started to advocate a bill asking for the minimum age in the state to be raised to 18 years old.
David Bates, the state representative said that they were asking the legislature to repeal a law that had been working for more than a century without facing difficulty just on the basis of a Girl Scout project.
It seems that Cassandra Levesque is old enough to have sex and be married but not old enough for her government to listen to what she has to say on the matter.
The bill was killed by the Republican House.
Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, blocked legislation that would have seen the state raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 and Andrew Cuomo is at the moment promoting a bill to try to get the age raised to 17.
UNDERAGE MARRIAGE MEANS RAPE ON THE WEDDING NIGHT
People who have defended the right of children to enter into marriage often use religious freedom and state the important of avoiding births of children out of wedlock.
However, the reality of getting married underage is often entering into abuse of basic human rights, say those who argue against under marriage and who want the minimum age raised.
The founder of Unchained, Friady Reiss, said that underage marriage means rape on the girls wedding night and a long time after.
Underage marriage has repercussions on the life of the young girl that are devastating and puts an end to their childhood on their wedding night.
So the big question remains as to why such a thing is still legal in the US?