Birmingham Zonta will participate this year in the 16 Days campaign (Nov 25-Dec 10), Zonta Says No, with a billboard on I-65 intended to raise awareness of the need to say NO to violence against women. The billboard will refer victims and others to resources for information and help.
Child marriage is not just a problem in other countries. A 2017 Frontline news program on child marriage reported finding in data collected on marriages since 2000 that in Alabama a 14-year-old was legally married to a 74 year old man. In 2003, the legal age of marriage in Alabama was raised to 16. According to the Frontline report, Alabama had the fourth-largest number of child marriages (8,657) from 2000 to 2014 of the states for which it had comparative data. A bill to raise the legal age of marriage in Alabama to 17 did not pass in the last legislative session.
A bill pending in the U.S. Congress addresses child marriage by requiring that both parties applying for a marriage-related visa be at least 18 years old. According to a U.S. Senate report, under existing law, over a ten-year period, 5,000 visa petitions were filed by adults on behalf of minors and there were nearly 3,000 cases of minors petitioning to bring an older spouse or fiancé into the U.S. The bill is an attempt to prevent and reduce the risk of child marriages, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation of children via the U.S. immigration system.