Curious to learn more about modern-day forced/early marriage customs in the USA?  Check out the just-published article authored by GJI Forced Marriage Initiative director, Julia Alanen, titled Shattering the Silence Surrounding Forced and Early Marriage in the United States.  According to Alanen:

It is a well-established human rights principle that every individual has a fundamental right to choose whether, when, and whom to marry.  Forced marriage is an intrinsic human rights violation, regardless of whether the victim consequently suffers any physical or psychological harm … An effective U.S. strategy to eradicate harmful marriage practices will include culturally competent, victim-centered legislation; mandatory training and practice guidelines for the full range of responders; holistic legal and social services; and a robust community-led development component.  Together, the mounting voices of fierce advocates and courageous survivors are shattering the insidious silence surrounding forced and early marriage in the United States.

READ ON to find out how and why thousands of American women and girls from Los Angeles to The Big Apple are forced or coerced into unwanted marriages that often lead to domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, reproductive health problems, ‘honor crimes,’ and even suicide.  Learn how a dearth of U.S. laws and resources coupled with a profound lack of awareness about this emerging issue leave victims vulnerable.  And, discover what U.S. advocates and NGOs are doing to protect forced-marriage victims, empower survivors, and eradicate this harmful practice.

Special thanks to former GJI legal intern Hannah Cartwright for her outstanding legal research support, and to Dr. Patricia Maloof for her invaluable insight into the social and cultural aspects of forced and early marriage.