This is what I think if someone asks me a question concerning child marriage/ marriages under 20: bullshit.
Several of these marriages are forced. Forced marriage is when one or both of ones getting married are coerced into marrying, instead of in free will. This is different from an arranged marriage, for although the family does get into the marrying biz, the decision making is in the hands of the individual and the fiancé/fiancée. This occurs in developing countries like those in Western Asia and Africa, but it can still happen in Western countries like the UK and the USA.
A family may force a child, often a girl in her teens, to marry someone older than her, in order to gain money, to escape conflict, and to gain prestige. The unfortunate girl is subject to abuse from her husband, and life devoid of the education and a successful future along with it. It can happen to boys too, but that is rarer. This is common in developing countries where poverty is very great. Albeit that the USA is a first-world country, forced marriages still happen. Often because the child is sent overseas to his/her spouse-to-be to marry.
Forced marriage is common in literature. Everyone knows how Juliet defied her dad when he tries to force her to marry Paris, when in truth, she loves Romeo. One novel: Catherine, Called Birdy, sets the characters in medieval England where early marriage is a complete norm. Catherine’s dad tries to make Catherine marry a guy several years her senior and is very repulsive, however, Catherine’s spirit enables her to invent pranks to stop the marriage from happening.
Even famous people in history have their share of forced marriage. Marie Antoinette was forced to marry Louis XVI at age 15(despite that, when her mom married, it was out of love). Eleanor of Aquitaine was betrothed to King Louis of France at the same age, and they didn’t have the best marriage ever(in fact, I think it could have been Taylor Swift-worthy).
All in all, forced marriage is evil. The poor victim loses control of one’s life and, unluckily, this situation is still very common. There are several hotlines for forced marriage online, so if you, or someone you know catches the news of being forced into marriage. Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Claim control of your life, and prevent yourself from this. I interviewed a person who preferred to stay anonymous, but she told me how her mom, at age 19 was forced to marry a man in his late twenties, therefore, things didn’t work out.
Do not be a victim, be a hero.