We as a society must start to realize that the practice of child marriage must cease to persist, for the sake of the future of these girls that are married to early. Child marriage is a cultural issue, but it is also a social justice issue and a national health issue in Nigeria.
Today, 25,000 girls got married. All of them were under 18 and most had no say in when or who they would marry. The overwhelming majority will drop out of school if they haven't already. This is not acceptable.
At Al's Drive-in the following year, I met Mark, a sixteen-year-old high school dropout. "If you don't let me marry Mark, I'll run away again or get pregnant. I'm not bluffing," I told my parents so many times that it became a sort of mantra.
There is another aspect to the Warren Jeffs trial that I find particularly disturbing, one which has not received much media attention, overshadowed as it has been by Jeffs' horrendous sexual exploitations.