Thousands of Young Women in U.S. Forced Into Marriage : Goats and Soda : NPR
When people hear her story, she says they tell her, “I never thought that this would ever happen to you.”
A year ago, Lina says her parents took her to Yemen, claiming her grandmother was gravely ill. But once she was there, Lina’s father announced that she would be getting married to a local man, despite her objections.
While in Yemen, “I wasn’t allowed out of the house longer than 10 minutes, and somebody always had their eye on me,” Lina says.
She did have her phone and e-mailed the U.S. Embassy. But the State Department says its ability to help in such situations is limited.
The UK has a Forced Marriage Unit
For Curtis, the fact that forced marriage falls outside the scope of New York and federal laws makes the issue hard to define and prosecute.
Among U.S. jurisdictions, only nine — California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, the Virgin Islands and Virginia — have legislation that could encompass forced marriage, according to the Global Justice Initiative. New York has no forced-marriage law on the books. There is no federal law protecting victims.
“Here if you go to the police with a marital problem, the first thing they are going to do is arrest your husband,” Curtis said. “They are just not trained to deal with those kind of problems. They need to build some expertise around this issue.”