Three American child brides have started talking about the exploitation they experienced after being forced to marry at a young age.
In the most recent episode of ABC News & # 39; Nightline, broadcast on Wednesday evening, the news organization traveled through the United States to talk with several child brides about their young experiences.
Ashley Duncan, now 26, was a woman Nightline married at the age of 15 after she became pregnant with the baby of her 18-year-old boyfriend.
Exploited: Ashley Duncan, now 26, was married at a young age of 15 after she became pregnant with the child of her 18-year-old boyfriend
Not forever: the marriage only lasted two years before they separated. Ashley had two children during that time
Heartbreaking: Sherry Johnson was forced to marry her husband at the age of 11 after she became pregnant with his first child at the age of 10
& # 39; My aunt, she got on the bus not long afterwards and said: & # 39; Get out of the bus, you're getting married, & # 39; & # 39; Duncan remembered about the time that took place in Missouri.
At the time, she admitted that marriage was the only option given her circumstances with her husband. But it was later revealed to her that the quick marriage had actually been prioritized to help her boyfriend avoid imprisonment for impregnating a minor.
Abused: the man who married Sherry (in the photo together) was 20 years old and a deacon in her church
& # 39; I was scared, but then I was told and believed, & # 39; she said. & # 39; I discovered that it is not true … that he would go to jail since he was 18 or older because I was pregnant. & # 39;
According to estimates, an estimated 200,000 children were married in the United States from 2000 to 2015 ABC news.
State laws do not protect these minors, and the practice is legal in most states if approval is obtained by legal guardians or judges for the case.
And 13 states in the US allow children to marry without any permission.
Duncan had been married to her husband for two years and had a second child before they separated.
However, her story is not rare in the US, because Nightline also interviewed a woman who was married at a young age of 11 years.
Sherry Johnson, now 59, was forced to marry a man who was 20 years old when she was not yet a teenager.
& # 39; We were married that night after church, & # 39; Johnson told Nightline. & # 39; Nobody said anything. I knew I was a kid. I knew I was 11. I knew he was 20. So I knew something was wrong then. And I was totally surprised that they let it happen. & # 39;
When she was only 10 years old, Sherry gave birth to her first child after being legally raped by her future husband.
& # 39; I was raped by people with authority, & # 39; she said, revealing that her husband was a deacon in the church where she was present. & # 39; I didn't know what really happened. I just know something was wrong. & # 39;
Forced marriage: Sherry said she was raped by her husband before her marriage and eventually had six children in the seven years they were together
Fighter: She is now using her platform to focus on ending child marriage in Florida
Another perspective: Abby Gillis was the only bride interviewed who said she didn't regret her early marriage. Instead, she hoped that the laws on child marriage would not change
Johnson eventually dropped out of school and eventually had six children in her seven-year marriage with her husband.
She uses her story and platform to fight to end child marriage in Florida.
The last child's bride interviewed by Nighline was Abby Gillis, who actually suggested marrying her 20-year-old boyfriend at the age of 16 after she became pregnant.
Her willingness to marry made her the exception among other interviewed child brides.
Although her parents did not want her to take such a monumental step, Gillis did it anyway.
& # 39; Nobody wants to see their 16-year-old get married, & # 39; said Gillis & mother, Victoria Lynn Sopr, and confessed that she had to cry on her daughter's wedding day. & # 39; So I cried … I had a lot of emotions that day. & # 39;
Gillis also differed from the other child brides because she has no regrets about marrying young. She even went so far that she & # 39; disappointed & # 39; would be if the laws were to change so that other women could not get married.
& # 39; I think there is no age limit when it comes to love, & # 39; said Gillis. & # 39; I think you know who you love – when they raise you and lift your face and you feel like their hearts are skipping or you just get butterflies because the presence is there. And I think people would say that puppy love is, but puppy love is still love. & # 39;
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