Shattering the Silence Surrounding Forced and Early Marriage in the United States
Children's Legal Rights Journal, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 2012)
37 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012 Last revised: 1 Oct 2012
Date Written: May 8, 2012
This article examines the nature, catalysts, and consequences of forced and early marriage customs; evaluates the efficacy of applicable domestic, foreign, and international laws and remedies; gauges the capacity of minors to meaningfully consent to marriage; analyzes competing theories about whether harmful marriage practices are best addressed through civil or criminal laws; and explores the role of community-led development efforts to spur social change. In order to craft effective, culturally competent solutions, it is essential that U.S. responders gain a nuanced understanding of the catalysts and consequences of harmful marriage customs in the countries of origin of our immigrant communities, where forced and early marriage are mainstream practices, and integrate lessons learned by countries with well-developed forced-marriage protection regimes. For these reasons, this article weaves a global perspective throughout the domestic analysis.
Keywords: forced marriage, early marriage, arranged marriage, domestic violence, gender, human rights, chidren, girls, child protection, international, family law, juvenile law, criminal law, immigration, immigrant integration, harmful cultural practice, harmful cultural tradition, community led development
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