Sherry Johnson has a unique background, especially since she is a black woman in a position of power who grew up destitute and a survivor of child abuse.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Cassi Alexandra</span>
Her shocking story of abuse starts at just age 8 when she was raped and impregnated by age 10. A year later, she would be forced to marry her rapist at the young age of 11. Not even a teenager yet, she had to abandon high school to care for her babies who kept coming.
She kept silent for many years, but now she is speaking out loud and clear against her abuser and against child marriage in the United States. Her voice is finally affecting change and is being heard in the chambers where the state's laws are being made.
It took five decades but Johnson is finally helping to change legislation that allows for children as young as 4 to be married in the United States. She spent the last five years lobbying lawmakers to stop the kind of forced marriages that equate to abuse that she herself suffered as a child.
Finally, Johnson has a state senator co-sponsoring a bill to abolish child marriage in Florida and an identical bill has been introduced in the House.
The proposed bill would ban child marriage under the age of 16 and so far it has been received well in the Florida House but it has gone nowhere in the Senate.
Now, as bizarre as this may sound, Florida stands ready to become the first state in America to ban marriage of minors under all conditions, with no exceptions.
Texas and Virginia recently updated their child marriage laws to ban marriage to children under 18 but still makes exceptions for minors granted adult rights by the courts.
The bills proposed to the Florida state legislature would set the age limit for marriage at 18 with no exceptions.
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My GOD! This is horrible, even worse, it DOES just keep happening. The fact that child marriage is allowed in certain circumstances (religious dispensation for Muslims in New Jersey for instance) is just horrible.
I can't fathom this myself… who would freaking allow someone raped as a child, to be married to her rapist of all people?! Where's the logic there, huh?! The sound of that just makes it seem like the parents of that poor girl have poor judgment and are bad people as well. Instead of going to the cops, forcing her rapist to be married to her at 11… I'm in the US, but I never knew marriage laws were so freaking lax, allowing kids as old as 4 to get married. I'm glad this will protect future children, including my own I hope to have one of these days… even if it's not something they're going to do across all US states at present, by the sounds of it.