The disturbing case featured in this MailOnline article illustrates that boys and men can be victims of forced marriage, too. In 8-year-old Senele’s case, his marriage was not legally binding. But, as GJI co-founder Julia Alanen observes in her article, Shattering the Silence Surrounding Forced Marriage in the U.S., “The fact that a nonconsensual marriage is legally void or voidable (nonbinding) is cold comfort for a traumatized ‘wife’ who has been beaten, confined, raped, impregnated, or otherwise terrorized, tortured, or abused by her alleged spouse.”

By framing forced marriage as strictly a women’s issue, we risk failing to protect men and boys. Alanen warns, “Although gender norms render women and girls particularly vulnerable to harmful marriage practices, it is critical that remedies and resources developed to combat forced and early marriage address all victim demographics.”

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