Do you remember this recent story?
British law forces Canadian bride to leave Welsh husband
By Damian Inwood , Vancouver Province September 11, 2009
VANCOUVER — Heartbroken Rochelle Wallis is recovering at her home in Revelstoke, B.C., after being “ripped away” from her husband in the United kingdom.
“It’s a horrible feeling being without my husband,” she said Thursday. “I spent nearly the last two years waking up every morning and going to sleep with him next to me, and it really set in when I woke up this morning and he wasn’t there.”
Wallis, 19, was forced to say goodbye to her husband Adam, 28, at Heathrow Airport Tuesday, all because of a law intended to protect vulnerable young women from forced marriages.
At the time of reading this I remember thinking how silly the law was not to make exceptions and I still feel the same way.
I also understand the reasoning behind the law which was put into place to protect young girls from forced marriages.
Forced marriage plea to schools
By Dominic Casciani BBC News
Forced marriage: Helpline calls up on last year
New guidance is being published urging schools to identify signs of forced marriages ahead of the holidays.
The guidance comes as an official report raises questions about how some schools and councils have failed to act on suspicions or evidence of abuse.
The report calls on schools to play a greater preventative role, saying some are clearly reluctant to get involved.
The government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) says it has received 770 calls for help this year - up 16% on 2008.
Experts say the coming month will be critical because there is growing evidence that abusive families use the school summer holidays to coerce daughters and sons to marry abroad.
The new guidance published by the FMU urges teachers to be aware of signs of a possible forced marriage because school or college is often the only place where the potential victim can speak freely.
And my point in mentioning this is?
Whilst reading about a number of cases regarding child marriages, I was surprised(no shocked) to find that whilst the minimum age in the UK is 16........no ifs, no buts......16 is the lowest age at which you can marry (check it out here but there are plenty of other sites to verify this), that is not the case in the USA.
And when I Googled a bit more I found many reports of children as young as 13 being allowed to marry.
And I am sorry,when I read this I just laughed and laughed because I thought it was a JOKE but the more I read the more I realised it wasn't.
Well it is a joke but it isn't meant to be.
For example (yes I do realise this is not a new case)
FALLS CITY, Neb., Aug. 29 - On Sunday evening, Matthew Koso tipped three ounces of formula into his 5-day-old daughter's mouth, then hoisted her atop his shoulder in hope of a burp. On Tuesday morning, he is scheduled to be arraigned on charges for which the newborn is the state's prime piece of evidence.
Chris Cummins for the New York Times
Matthew Koso, 22; his wife Crystal, 14; and their daughter, Samara. Mr. Koso faces an arraignment Tuesday on a charge of statutory rape.
Mr. Koso is 22. The baby's mother, Crystal, is 14. He is charged with statutory rape, even though they were wed with their parents' blessing in May, crossing into Kansas because their own state prohibits marriages of people under 17.
The Nebraska attorney general accuses Mr. Koso of being a pedophile; they say it is true love.
"We don't want grown men having sex with young girls," said Jon Bruning, the attorney general. "We make a lot of choices for our children: we don't allow them to vote; we don't allow them to drink; we don't allow them to drive cars; we don't allow them to serve in wars at age 13, whether they want to or not; and we don't allow them to have sex with grown men."
But Mr. Koso's mother, Peggy, said she and her husband of 25 years were proud that their son did not disappear like so many deadbeat dads.
Whilst I agree with Mr Koso's mother that her son is doing the right thing and his dedication to his child and the child's mother cannot be faulted, it is the Law that I have the issue with that ALLOWS a child under the age of 16 to be married whatever the circumstances.
I have 6 girls and they know exactly how I feel about getting married young, what's the point of having experience and not being able to tell your children about it?
I was married at 19(which doesn't seem too young) and I feel that I was too young.
My girls were too young at 16 and they were definitely too young at 13.
Here is something to think about................think of the boys you went out with when you were 13 and 16........imagine if you had married them.
What did they turn out like?
Were you ready?
Where they ready?
Are you scared at what your life could have been like?
However, I have met 2 families where the mothers were 14 and 16 when they married and they both seem to have had a very happy family life, so it can work but that wasn't today,it was in the 1950's.
Thankfully not everybody feels the same ways about child brides in the USA and work has been done to stop these marriages.
Although the practice is most common in the developing world, child marriage still exists in industrialized countries, where it is intimately linked with poverty.
In the United States, teens can get married as young as 14 with parental consent in some states. After a highly publicized case in Kansas last year in which a pregnant 14-year-old married her 22-year-old boyfriend, the state raised the minimum marrying age to 15 with a judge's approval. The man, Matthew Koso, pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault and was sentenced in February to 18 to 30 months in prison.
According to a 2002 study by the Washington-based Center for Law and Social Policy, around 1 percent of U.S. teens between 15 and 17 have been married. However, the 2000 U.S. census found that teen marriage rates increased by nearly 50 percent during the 90s.
Researchers have speculated on a number of reasons for this escalation, including the impact of abstinence-until-marriage programs, welfare policies that promote marriage and the influx of immigrants from societies where early marriage is common.
A 2004 report by Save the Children found that over one-fifth of 20-year-old women in the United States gave birth while still teens, the highest adolescent birth rate among industrialized countries. U.S. teens living in rural communities with high poverty rates and below-average education levels are most likely to become young mothers.
By writing this I am not trying to claim the UK is perfect and other countries are not. We have our own fair share of problems to deal with what I am saying is that no matter what under 16 year olds look like or behave like, they are still physically,emotionally and developmentally children and should be treated and respected as such.