EThere were no celebrations and flowers; instead of a white wedding dress, Donna Pollard wore black. Her husband, whom the American calls “perpetrator” today, copied her birth certificate, put it in the car, and drove her to a registry office in Tennessee. “The registrar didn’t even look at us. She only asked which of us was a minor. I felt like I was completely out of control of my life, ”Pollard recalls her wedding day 20 years ago. She was 16 years old at the time, her groom 31. Without a marriage certificate, he would have been convicted of having sex with a minor. “The whole thing had nothing to do with love and romance. He married me to sexually exploit me legally. ”
Pollard is one of nearly 250,000 child brides who were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010, according to the charity Unchained At Last. Even though the United States Department of State condemns minor marriages around the world as a human rights violation, children continue to appear before civil servants in more than 40 states – mostly girls who marry older men.