Sherry Johnson was raped when she was 8 years old by multiple men in positions of power within her family’s religious institution. She was pregnant and gave birth at age 10, and was married off to one of her rapists at age 11. This did not happen in some hard to imagine, rural area of India or Afghanistan, but in Florida, USA.
Sherry’s story is at times an unsettling read (trigger warning), but I still highly recommend taking time to read it, because this blog post won’t do it justice at all.
Sherry is now sharing her story and spearheading efforts to call on Florida legislators to change current laws that allow young girls to be coerced into marriage via loopholes (permission from parents/judges). She hopes to help Florida become the first state to abolish child marriages (200,000 in the US in the last 15 years, 87% of which were young girls). The original bill proclaiming 18 to be the legal marriage age, no exceptions passed unanimously on January 31, but a similar bill was introduced last week to allow exceptions for pregnancy of 16 and 17 year olds.