At age 11, Sherry Johnson was forced to marry her rapist, who was also the deacon of her Florida church. After raising nine children of her own by age 27, Sherry dedicated her life to ensuring that no child will ever be forced into marriage before they reach adulthood. Currently, child marriage is legal in almost every state in the US. In 2018, however, Florida implemented one of the country's strictest laws, requiring a person be at least 17 years old in order to get married. This significant legislative victory in Florida is largely attributable to Sherry, who has been advocating for policy change at the state capitol since 2012. Sherry is committed to sharing her story and repeating this success nationwide, as well as spreading her efforts globally, until it is illegal for children to marry everywhere around the globe.Find out more
Many people think of child marriage as something that only happens in developing countries or among certain religious groups. However, there are loopholes in the law that make child marriage legal in almost every state across America. It’s a shocking fact, and it’s one that is difficult for many people to comprehend.
Sherry Johnson is a survivor of child marriage. At age 11, she was forced to marry her rapist, who was also the deacon of her Florida church. By age 27, Sherry had given birth to 9 children. Today, decades later, she has dedicated her life to ensuring that no child will be forced to enter marriage before they reach adulthood. Through her advocacy work, she is committed to changing child marriage laws in America and across the globe. Check out Sherry’s 2018 TEDMED Talk to learn why she believes that sharing her story, and encouraging others to speak out as well, is a critical part of changing laws and protecting children from child marriage.