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Tags: us | child brides | americas child brides

US Child Brides Tell All

british journalist ellie flynn
British journalist Ellie Flynn is at the helm of a BBC production that looks at underage girls who become wives. (Twitter)

By    |   Thursday, 18 April 2019 11:17 AM

The light is being shined on underage girls who became child brides in a new tell-all documentary that shares the story of three teenage girls in America who wound up married despite their young age. The BBC production, "America's Child Brides," takes a look at the state laws governing the marriage age and how loopholes allow for underage girls to become wives, Fox News noted.

At the helm of the documentary is British journalist Ellie Flynn, who launched an investigation into the matter after uncovering county records in South Carolina documenting 16 underage marriages, ten of which could see the groom prosecuted under statutory rape laws, according to The Miami Herald.

Flynn said she was shocked to learn that so many states in the U.S. still allowed child marriage.

"It’s something that I wasn’t aware of until I started looking into this," she said, according to Fox News. "So I wanted to find out why. What was the reason the law was still in place? What were the arguments? What were these people thinking to allow someone to get married so young? I wanted to find out what exactly was happening."

The documentary looks at the story of three underage girls who became child brides. In one case Keri, who was 15 at the time, married Paul, who was 24, after she fell pregnant. In order to avoid conviction, Paul agreed to marry Keri and help to look after their baby. 

"My dad could have pressed charges," Keri explained, per Fox News. "But, instead, Paul, convinced him to let us marry by giving him a case of beer. He was that much of an alcoholic, he took the case of beer, and it was a done deal."

A second case involves Heather, who became pregnant at 14 after being raped by 24-year-old Aaron, who took advantage of her when she passed out in his trailer after drinking too much. Heather's father forced her to marry Aaron, driving across state lines from Idaho to Missouri, where the legal age for marriage is 15. The child bride suffered a miscarriage and Aaron turned aggressive towards his wife. He was jailed for 15 years for statutory rape just four months after their marriage.

The third case features Zion who became pregnant at 16 with her high school sweetheart David, who is two years older. They decided to get married so that they could live as a family. According to Fox News, David is in the military and couples can only live together on a base if they are married. 

"With Heather and Keri, it was complicated," Flynn said. "There was a sense where they felt… like they had few options. For Zion, she was very much in love and wanted to get married. That was very much a decision she made and was happy with."

Flynn said the age of consent and statutory rape are controversial subjects that need to be tackled.

"I still don’t really understand, the disconnect that statutory rape is illegal, can be tried for, but these marriages are legal and in some cases, can get you out of prosecution," she said.

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TheWire
The light is being shined on underage girls who became child brides in a new tell-all documentary that shares the story of three teenage girls in America who wound up married despite their young age.
us, child brides, americas child brides
522
2019-17-18
Thursday, 18 April 2019 11:17 AM
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