Monday, September 19, 2016

WOMEN - Forced Marriage, the Marriage of Kings

"Uncovering the problem of forced marriage in the U.S." PBS NewsHour 9/14/2016

aka "The downside of conservative, male chauvinist, religion."


SUMMARY:  She was never verbally or physically threatened or restrained.  But at age 19, Nina Van Harn felt like she couldn't say no when she was expected to marry a man chosen by her family.  And she is not alone in her experience.  In a two-year period, it's estimated that there were 3,000 such forced marriage cases in the United States.  Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, special correspondent :  For Nina Van Harn, raising her children today is a radical departure from her own upbringing.

NINA VAN HARN, Married at 19:  My childhood was part magical, and part complicated.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  She was raised in rural Michigan on a 40-acre farm in a tight-knit community that practiced a conservative form of evangelical Christianity.  Its members largely kept to themselves, more “Little House on the Prairie” than modern-day America.

Growing up, she always knew one day was coming.  She recorded its arrival in her diary.

NINA VAN HARN:  “Dear Kit (ph)” — that was the name of the girl in the journal — “You will never guess what happened today.  This morning after breakfast, papa sat Naomi (ph) and I down at the kitchen table and nailed us both with a load of bricks.  He believes he found husbands for both of us.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  Van Harn had turned 19.  She was legally an adult.  There was no gun to her head, no chains around her wrists.  But because of lifelong pressures from her family and her upbringing, she considers herself one of thousands of American women and girls forced into marriage each year.

NINA VAN HARN:  I knew that I wasn't going to say no.  This was God's will.  God had spoken.  And it was just not even an option.  I didn't think consciously in my head 'I'm being forced.'

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