Survivors of Child Marriages and Forced Marriages Speak Out | Iris

to know that at 13 my marriage was recognized legally here is mind-boggling to me my whole life I was groomed to marry young my whole life I was taught that my goal was to marry and be a wife and a mother you know I had just finished my freshman year in high school I was living with my mom going to basketball games I joined the ROTC like I wanted to go into the Air Force I was living in Colorado at the time and my mom told me that you know I was gonna go visit my dad that summer I was in love with Lisa Frank I had every coloring book I had that was like my thing I loved Barbies and one of the moments that I remember was being in the fourth grade having a crush on a boy and telling myself niala this can never be because you're already spoken for imagine thinking like that at the age of 8 well we basically went to a religious conference in Los Angeles during the course of that conference I was introduced to somebody in the morning and I was basically told like oh here's who was picked for you so like go over and talk to them so the matchmaker brings you a match and you really I'm never allowed to be alone with this guy you always have to be in a public place you're never allowed to have any physical contact with him how well can you possibly get to know somebody under those circumstances so I went over there and talked to him and he was a 28 year old man I was 15 so he was almost double my age and then after that meeting I was told that I was going to be married that same night that's when it really hit me that I do not want this and how in the world can I get out of this and I remember when they were doing it nobody asked me I was in one house my dad was three houses down telling the priest I do for me I just remember asking one of the women like so where am I going to sleep tonight and she just kind of looked at that was it I was like physically handed over to this man I just didn't know you know you trust your parents you trust your parents and and this is something I can very much relate to it's your own family that forced you into the marriage and then that family that wouldn't let you leave and it's so hard to understand why the night-time would fall my heart would drop because I was like oh my god he's going to rape me now and I would look at his sister's little kids I wish I was this young child right now who could go home and sleep with their mother and not with a rapist a common misconception is that child marriage and forced marriage happen in only developing countries far away that it doesn't happen here in the United States and unfortunately because of the laws and policies that we have in place in the u.s. it's legal here to a large extent and happening here much to a much greater extent than most people realize it's so difficult for women who are facing a forced marriage or in a forced marriage to reach out and get help because in most cases the perpetrators are their own parents their own family it's their loved ones I don't even remember being asked if I consented or anything when your parent consents for you you are not in the equation anymore so you are like no longer person it was only one week after my wedding it was exactly one week that I first discovered my husband was violent that was when he in a violent rage punched his fist through the wall in our little apartment hard enough that he left a big hole in the sheetrock and it was only a few days after that that he first threatened to kill me and yet there was just no way out well think about it if your 16 year old and you're an abusive relationship and you want to escape that abusive relationship let's say you try to run away from your abuser you might get turned away at the local homeless shelter because you're not 18 yet you might not be able to file for a divorce either because you're under the age of 18 those are our laws that are in place that are preventing child marriage survivors from even leaving their brutal relationships I just kind of gave up and I thought well this is just this is my life and you know I thought the best outcome is I don't live very long and then it was until I was 27 when things got really bad that I finally came up with this idea that I was gonna get out and the way I did it was by going to college and then during that time I also saved up cash so I found the one place in the house I knew he wouldn't look which was a box of whole-grain total in the pantry closet and over five years got my degree and saved up more than forty thousand dollars in cash in my box of cereal my fight for independence was basically through education I slowly started realizing that it was not your typical marriage and it never felt like a typical marriage I just felt like I was stuck in this relationship with this person that I didn't want to be with he was never a person that I would want to be with I was robbed of my childhood I was robbed of being 12 13 going in the movies with my friends you know I look at my son and I was like wow I was two years younger than him and I was engaged young women and young girls have just as much right to education and freedom as anybody else for everyone like me who gets out and stops the cycle there are so many thousands more who are still in it and that is just so sad you you

Michael Martin

38 Responses

  1. Im a boy and 18 yr old my parents are trying to force me to meet a girl get a married but i disagree with them girl,so im young and i want have a freedom and make money but i never want to married girl that i never met girl . So yeah this is wrong and ridiculous,bad parents who trying to forcing u

  2. 16 is a quite okay age to be allowed to marry someone, its 16 here in germany too, (speaking of consentual marriages though).

  3. I know that I would sound like a psycho, but if I had found out that my parents were going to marry me I would have tried to run away, if not possible then I would have killed them both and disguised it into an accident or lied about being sexually abused by them, etc…

  4. America is a stupid country . You have to be 21 to buy alcohol and tabaco but you can legally marry before 18 ???!!! 🤦‍♀️

  5. A woman's work
    A girl child's work
    My GOD
    Where can we go for peace?
    The church has failed countless women, men AND CHILDREN.
    Google: Sherry Johnson Tallahassee, FL
    And take a look at what the American Black Church has been complicit ti

  6. I’m confused because I wanted to get married at 16- like an idiot and couldn’t because it wasn’t legal in California even with a parents consent. And that was 9 years ago

  7. There was someone I knew from a village. She was in ninth grade and was still in school and her father called her back to the village to get her married to someone.

  8. I never knew this happened in America. This is so heart breaking to hear and this is still going on

  9. Awwww Lisa Frank ❤️ a very stark contrast 😞 This is so painful to hear. I cannot imagine how psychologically damaging this is for these young girls. Ugh.

  10. Hi people I want you to know that I can’t have children on my own and I’ll never get pregnant or married and I been had my tubes tied along time ago and I’m really happy 😃 and I’am single forever I never had a boyfriend or girlfriend and I’m really happy about that 😀

  11. Yeah.. the real evil is in america. Look at the rest of the world and call yourselves civilsed. Ironic or what ?

  12. So this is legal but a 16 year old girl consenting to having sex with a 20 year old boy is considered rape …. nice USA keep it up.
    In Egypt, a Middle-Eastern 3rd world country, you're not allowed to force marry your children if they are under 18, any parent caught engaging in these horrific things will go to prison.

  13. Its not Americas fault, its the parents. The parents force them too do this. Should it be legal? No. But the parents are sick for letting it happen bottom line.And the men that married them are also sick.

  14. "Survivors" women have every statistic confirming that men have it worse … in the West at least. They're over sexed and fully indulged … not interested in their latest PR stunt

  15. Could they not get a divorce as soon as they turned 18. Not that that makes it all okay but I don't know honestly.

  16. In my home, Indonesia this is really common. Even I know some girls who studied abroad miles from home and when went home a whole family arranged her marriage without her knowing before(yes, you went into college miles away from home then went back home just to realized you've been another guy's wife).

    I've met a cousin who had 2 kids and that time she's at 5 months pregnancy, told me about how wonderful a marriage woman is and I need to follow her step immediately. I was 18, and she was on my age too. Marriage legal age here about 18 for woman and 21 for man but there's called "nikah siri" or illegal marriage which you could even marry someone even in 12 years age. It's illegal but acceptable by culture.

    I've met my school mate months ago, she has been married this month because her parents arrange her marriage. She told me "Don't force yourself to get married, or you'll ended up like me. You have a brighter future than me." I can't forget those words and it made me sad honestly.

    Also, it's still common a rape victim forced to marry their perpetrator. And even there's a movement to not dating but instead you need to MARRIED IMMEDIATELY no matter your educational background or economy or even your age, you must be in marriage status.

  17. When she said “this is my life” it got me real hard there are still people out there who have to accept there life with this sour thoughts. Stayyy strong. There is hopee

  18. I feel terrible for these women, but I'm so happy that they're trying to make a difference for this terrible tradition that needs to be stopped. I hope this changes the world🙏 thank you for this video!

  19. Wow, these women are so strong. I am so glad they are ok now. They must have hurt. They were also probably very scared. Bless these strong beautiful women.💕❤️

  20. My mom married at 14. But thank God my dad is a good person. Although it was a cultural marriage, my dad treats my mom like a princess. Maybe because of our religion and also because he has 4 sisters (which also live happily, although they all married young, the youngest being 12). My dad told me that he will never allow me to marry young, unless I am able to finish university. Which is what I am doing now, but I am also engaged (age of 18) to a man I love and that respects me

  21. I wish ‘No’ was enough and nobody had to answer after no….like for
    ex; mom:you will marry him
    me: Mom No I don’t want to
    The end
    But that’s not how it happens 😔

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