Trevicia Williams was forced into marriage at 14 years old by her own mother. She didn’t know why her mother forced her to marry a much older ex-convict, but she did. The experience has inspired Williams to help others who were denied a childhood due to being forced into marriage. This is her story.
A child bride speaks out. Trevicia Williams was married on October 17, 1983, at the age of 14 years old. Not only that, but she was coerced into the marriage by her mother. After picking her up from school one day, her mother told her she was getting married.
A child bride speaks out. Williams was a ninth grader at the time. She wanted to be a prosecuting attorney and since she was at the top of her class, she had the potential to do so. But unfortunately, her dream was cut short. Her mother said she was getting married, according to the Texas Tribune.
A child bride speaks out. She never knew why her mother forced this upon her; she didn’t ask. “My mom was very authoritative and not one you would question,” Williams told the Tribune “If I had two words to describe how I felt that day, it would be uneasy and nervous.”
A child bride speaks out. Before she knew it, she was standing across from a 26-year-old convicted sex offender about to marry him. Williams married the man 12 years her senior in front of a justice of the peace.
A child bride speaks out. As you may have guessed, the marriage was turbulent. Williams was both physically and psychologically abused by her husband, the Texas Tribune reports. The first time she was hit, she tried to return home to her mother, who denied her. A year into the marriage, she became pregnant with her first child. A year after that, her husband was incarcerated.
A child bride speaks out. She promptly filed for divorce a few days after turning 17, and the approval was granted in 1987. “I had to endure the abuse until I was able to free myself and escape from the marriage,” Williams told the Texas Tribune. Luckily, she was able to take her life back, and turn things around.
A child bride speaks out. Free of her abusive husband, Williams was able to go to college where she received her doctorate in psychology. Additionally, she founded her own organization, Real Beauty Inside Out. It’s mission is to end forced marriages by promoting healthy relationships between mothers and daughters.
A child bride speaks out. Now, Williams, 47, is putting her support behind the Senate Bill 1705. According to the Texas Tribune, the bill “would prohibit a person under 18 years of age from marrying unless a judge consents. It also would prohibit anyone under 16 from getting married. Currently Texas has no statutory age ‘floor’ — meaning a judge could approve a child of any age to marry.”
Luckily, the bill passed with little opposition. Williams was thrilled with the victory for young girls everywhere. “I’m all about protecting the rights of childhood and the potential of girls and children. I think it’s so amazing that this bill will help preserve and protect the lives of girls in the future,” she said.
A child bride speaks out. Unfortunately, Texas has the highest rates of child marriages in the country. Jeanne Smoot, the senior counsel and policy strategist for Tahirih, says 40,000 children under the age of 18 were married in Texas between the years 2000 and 2014.
A child bride speaks out. Children might still opt to get married, but they have to be emancipated in order to ensure they are choosing to do so. “The passage of this bill helps ensure the only marriages going forward are adults or emancipated minors,” Smoot told the Tribune. “It’ll prevent — rather than facilitate — the forced marriage of children.”
A child bride speaks out. The house sponsor of the bill, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, said she filed the legislation in order to give children the opportunity to be children, and live their lives. “We want to give these kids an opportunity to make a choice. Their choice,” Thompson told the Tribune. “When you marry someone who’s 15 years old to someone who’s 50, you haven’t given her a chance to be a young lady, grow up and enjoy all those things leading up to their 18th birthday. You cut her short of those opportunities.”
A child bride speaks out. Twelve other states have banned marriage for children 16 and under, due to growing concerns regarding child marriages. Virginia became the first state to increase their minimum age to 18 through a policy put into place in 2016. Texas has since followed suit, with the passing of their similar bill.
A child bride speaks out. Children should be able to live their lives as children. Adult decisions, such as marriage, should not be made until they have reached adulthood, and they should most definitely not be made by someone else or forced upon them. “A child should be a child for as long as they can. Children are not psychologically nor physically capable of taking on the responsibilities of being a spouse,” Williams said. “It’s important children have a safety net.
A child bride speaks out. Even though the idea of receiving parental approval for minor weddings may on the surface seem justified, it’s not. There’s an alarming rise in the number of children who are being forced by their parents to enter into marriages. Most states also only require one parent to consent. There’s still a lot of work to be done in order to protect young children. Luckily, strides are already being made.
After dropping the huge news on Tuesday Thor will now be a woman in the upcoming comic book series, Marvel dropped more big news announcing the next Captain America will be black.
Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada confirmed rumors on The Colbert Report this week that Steve Rogers, Captain America’s longtime alter ego will have to step down, passing his shield onto Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon, an old ally of The Captain.
Originally created in 1969, The Falcon was the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, and has consistently been an important character in the Marvel universe. Marvel has said Rogers isn’t dying, but he’ll be playing a lesser role and giving remote support to Wilson.
With these two huge announcements this week about major changes, it definitely looks as though Marvel is actively making an effort to include more diversity within the Marvel world. What other changes could they be making in the future?