Target: United States President Barack Obama
Goal: Help the U.S. follow through on its part to end child marriage across the globe.
Every day, 39,000 girls under eighteen are brought into marriages, often by abduction, abuse, and force. One girl, who was married at fourteen to a man who kidnapped her on her way home from school, managed to escape and shoot her captor. She was subsequently charged with the murder and spent two years in court pleading her self defense. The trial brought up a re-examination of Ethiopian customs, and the country is now set on ending female genital mutilation and child rape by 2025. For the 39,000 women’s lives stolen every day, this is not soon enough.
President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in March of 2013, which includes a commitment to internationally ending child marriages. It also requires the State Department to develop a comprehensive strategy for ending child marriage and to direct foreign assistance programs into countries where child marriage is prevalent. By the end of the year, it is possible to implement strategies into the U.S. Agency of International Development, require State Depatment diplomats of the world to answer to child marriage in their country, and have the Executive Order signed on the law. Tell the President that these actions need to be taken urgently and immediately.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Child marriage is a serious issue that affects thousands of families all over the world every day. Girls are kidnapped off the streets by far older men and are forced to marry them before adulthood without any legal recourse. In 2013, you signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that agreed to internationally ending child marriage by creating a strategy throughout foreign assistance programs and specifically in countries where child marriage is most common.
Right now, Ethopia’s government has agreed on the abolishment of female genital mutilation and child marriage by 2025. But with over 39,000 girls being abducted into forced marriage every day around the world, ten years is far too late. Please remember the promise you made to these global citizens and their families when you signed this bill and see its completion through to the end. Signing the Executive Order of this law will be the finalizing step to place child marriage prevention plans in the Agency of International development and will require world leaders allowing child marriage in their country to stand up and explain themselves. Every day that you wait is thousands of lives changed forever.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jessica Lea