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AUTHOR: eva // FECHA: 09/9/17 // COMENTARIOS: Comments Off on #StillAGirl


Kaya has launched the campaign #StillAGirl in social networks for help to stop child marriage in the EEUU.

Teen Vogue has wrote a story about it.

This Teen Launched a Campaign to End Child Marriage in the U.S.

Fifteen-year-old Kaya Callahan started the #StillAGirl campaign to help urge lawmakers to end child marriage in the United States.

Wedlocked is a Teen Vogue series about child marriage in the United States that examines the history of the practice and its modern reality, as all 50 states have laws with provisions that that allow people under 18 to marry. In this op-ed, 15-year-old Kaya Callahan explains why she’s writing her governor about the practice.

Child marriage is happening in the United States. Some may assume that in the U.S., the minimum age to be married is 18 years old — but it’s actually possible to marry at a younger age in all states, as they all have exemptions to the laws that make it possible. Twenty-five states allow marriage with no age floor, meaning the consent of a parent or judge (or both) can theoretically allow the marriage of a child of any age.

Statistics compiled by PBS’s Frontline show that at least 207,468 minors were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015 across 44 states. The majority of minors who were married were girls; only 13% were boys. According to Frontline’s data — which the program admits does not include every single child marriage in the U.S. — the youngest children to marry were three 10-year-old girls in Tennessee, who were married to men who were 24, 25, and 31, and the youngest groom was 11 years old and married a 26-year-old woman. Thirteen-year-olds were given the OK to marry in 14 states, according to the data, including the state I was born in: New Jersey.

I was outraged when I found out that this May, New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill raising the minimum marriage age to 18 in N.J. As a 15-year-old girl, the thought that others my age and younger could have their choices for the future stripped away was shocking. This is not A Walk to Remember, a movie in which two teens get married because the one has cancer and it’s her dying wish. The reality of child marriage in America is much darker: It results in divorce rates of nearly 70% and high-school-dropout rates as high as 50%; dropping out of high school leads to a greater likelihood of future poverty.

To right this wrong, I’m starting #StillAGirl, a write-in and social media campaign urging Christie to support legislation that bans marriage for all of those under 18. It’s a call to all teens and their parents to join me in taking a stand to protect our own and establish positive change. We cannot stay silent.

Below, you’ll find a copy of the letter I’ve written my lawmaker, and I invite you to join me in writing your own. To find out whether your state is one of the 25 states that have no age floor, go to my website for more information and a sample letter that you can easily copy, paste, and send to your state legislator.

Dear Governor Chris Christie,

I am a 15-year-old New Jersey native, and I recently became aware that there are thousands of child marriages happening in our state. I know that you are more than aware because you vetoed a bill in May that would protect these minors from forced marriages.

In these marriages, the majority of which involve a minor girl and an older man, the child is powerless to make choices and decisions that would affect her future and protect herself. At 15, a young woman my age in New Jersey is too young to drive or have a driver’s license. Because of her age, she can work only limited hours to make money for herself. If she were to try to remove herself from the situation, it would be very hard for her to hire a divorce attorney, rent an apartment, or enter a shelter for abused women, even though child marriage puts young people at greater risk for domestic violence. An op-ed in The Washington Post states, “Most domestic-violence shelters do not accept minors and youth shelters typically notify parents that their children are there.”

You recently vetoed a piece of legislation that would protect children my age and younger because, in your words, “The bill…does not comport with the sensibilities, and in some cases, the religious customs, of the people of this State.” Raising the marriage age to 18 “without exceptions would violate the cultures and traditions of some communities in New Jersey based off of religious traditions,” you said.

I understand your desire to be sensitive to the customs, cultures, and religious beliefs of the people of the state, especially because New Jersey was recently identified as one of the 10 most diverse states in America. But this is not about religion — and even if it were, to protect a few, you have exposed many.

I don’t know if you’re among those who believe these marriages are most often cases of minors marrying other minors, but that is not the majority. In the U.S., 86% of child-marriage cases involve adults marrying minors](apps.frontline.org/child-marriage-by-the-numbers), and what comes next is often a horrible reality.

[Studies have shown that] they have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders and are 31% more likely to end up in poverty. Most of the parents who sign over their children believe they are doing the right thing for different reasons, though some just don’t care. Just because it’s a belief or tradition doesn’t make it right.

There’s a solution that can change all this, and it starts with supporting legislation that makes the minimum marriageable age 18 with no exceptions. With education and awareness, women and girls are finding the courage to stand up and change old, broken systems, and you can support them by learning more about the issue through the Tahirih Justice Center, whose lawyers have helped draft recent legislation and are working on initiatives to eliminate marriage for those under 18 in all 50 states.

We have to do the right thing, even if it’s not popular. These vulnerable children of your state need your protection. Please be their champion.

Peacefully yours,

Kaya Callahan

StillAGirl

If you are facing or fleeing a forced marriage or know someone who is, contact the Tahirih Justice Center’s Forced Marriage Initiative to get help at fmi@tahirih.org. Visit preventforcedmarriage.org to find out more.

Share the story in your social networks to help.

Thanks.❤



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