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Next week's episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk will explore the harrowing subject of children who are forced into marriage.
In an exclusive clip from the episode, two women who were child brides discuss their experiences and the need for legislative change.
In 48 states, it remains legal for children to be forced into marriage under certain circumstances.
Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk never fails to shine a light on subjects that matter. Ever since its debut last year, the Facebook Live talk show has seen Smith, her daughter Willow and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones tackle subjects like mental illness and domestic abuse, while also giving a platform to important voices like those of R. Kelly's sexual assault accusers.
Next week's episode, airing July 1, will delve into the subject of children being forced into marriage, which disturbingly, is a more prevalent problem in the US than you might imagine. In 48 states, it remains legal for children to be forced into marriage under certain circumstances, including parental consent and pregnancy. Only Delaware and New Jersey have entirely banned child marriage.
In next Monday’s episode on July 1, two women who were forced into marriage as children share their stories, and discuss the urgent need for legislative change.
One of the women, Genevieve, describes meeting a 42-year-old man when she was 15. "He really preyed on me right away," she says, adding that the man was arrested and released on bail. Her mother's reaction, she says, was to pressure her into marrying the man so that he wouldn't be prosecuted. "She said 'You know, this is all your fault. You're a slut. You seduced this man'... The goal for her was to marry me before that court date so that the charges would be dropped and he wouldn’t be prosecuted."
In a second clip, Willow expresses her astonishment that this is even legal in the US. "The thing that really hits me is that young girls aren’t even protected in the law,” Willow says. The group then goes on to discuss the remarkable fact that there is no age floor for marriage in California: in other words, you must be 18 to consent to sex, but not to consent to marriage. And as Genevieve's story illustrates, marriage protected him from being charged with statutory rape.
The full episode will be available on Facebook Watch on Monday, July 1.