California Still Allows Child Brides And Underage Marriages. Survivors Push For Ban

News Organization


Publication Date

25 June 2023

Publication Author

Rya Jetha

They stood on the steps of the state Capitol, in white bridal gowns and veils, their wrists chained together and their mouths taped shut.

They are survivors of forced and child marriages — and they want California to finally outlaw child brides.

“When I was 14 years old, my parents coerced me into marrying the 27-year-old pedophile who had been abusing me for two years because I became pregnant and it brought “shame” to the family,” said Pat Abatemarco, who said she eventually escaped the marriage, with her daughter, with the help of a social worker.

Thursday, she and others shared their stories of enduring gender-based violence, being forced to abandon their education, and becoming estranged from their families during the “chain-in” protest organized by Unchained At Last, a national advocacy nonprofit, to launch a campaign for the law.