A Mission to Unchain Women
Alder New York first got involved with Unchained when we participated in their fundraising event at Kilpatrick Townsend this past week. Our team was moved and inspired by founder Fraidy Reiss, who told her own story of escaping an arranged marriage. She was 19 when her family in Brooklyn arranged for her to marry a man who quickly became violent once they were married. She eventually escaped and put herself through college, became a journalist, and went on to found Unchained, though her family and community disowned her in the process.
This is Really Still Happening?
She soon learned that she wasn't alone. Just in the past 2 years, Unchained estimates that over 3,000 girls as young as 15 were forced into marriages. Many of them are part of insular religious communities, and are forced by the threat of ostracism or violence. The scariest part is that there are no laws to protect these girls. Currently, in 2018, there are still 27 states in the US where there is no minimum age for a child to marry. However, there is a minimum age at which a person can file for divorce on their own behalf- usually at 18. Which means that many of these young girls are figuratively chained to their partner, with no legal recourse to escape.
What this Means
The effects of this are huge. Studies show that girls who marry before 19 are 50% more likely than their unmarried peers to drop out of high school and 4 times less likely to graduate from college. Even taking into account preexisting differences, a girl who marries young is 31% more likely to live in poverty when she is older. And women who marry before 18 are 3 times more likely to be beaten by their spouses than women who wed at 21 or older.
Let's End the Cycle
Unchained is trying to end that. Their mission is to raise awareness and push for legislation to protect women and girls in the US from forced marriages. They also provide free legal services and emotional support to help women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives.
We couldn't be more excited to donate to their cause helping them achieve their goals, with your help. So get shopping. Not only will you be purchasing clean, effective, ethically made skincare and haircare, but now you will also be helping girls escape forced marriages. We can’t wait to help make a difference.