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Sherry Johnson Continues Push to End Child Marriage Nationwide

July 17th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
Legislation prohibiting child marriage took effect July first in Florida, and the Tampa woman who spent her childhood in slavery is pushing other states to ban child marriage as well.
Sherry Johnson was just eight when she was first raped by her church deacon.
“[It] devastated my life,” said Johnson.
Sherry gave us this copy of her marriage license with the condition she doesn’t want us to show the name of the rapist she was forced to marry at age eleven.
By the time she was 17 she had six kids.
“When little girls were playing with barbie dolls, I was attending to a real doll,” said Johnson.
Sherry was the moving force behind a new Florida law that bans child marriage before age 18.
A cable network documentary is in the works about Sherry’s ordeal and she’s negotiating a contract to update her book, Forgiving the Unforgivable.
Speaking of the unforgivable, Sherry once confronted her mother about what happened to her.
“And why did she allow these things to happen to me and like I said it ended up in a situation where I regret actually even going to her,” said Johnson.
Still, the two have a relationship.
“I forgive her for all the things that she did not do and that she allowed to happen to me,” said Johnson.
For Sherry, the book and the documentary are part of her healing process.
So is her advocacy.
“I’m looking to actually go across the nation to cover this,” said Johnson. “Where a child won’t be married before the age of 18.”
Other states have followed suit, but Sherry says she won’t quit until she’s sure what happened to her won’t happen to anyone else agin anywhere in America.
There are three exceptions to marriage before age 18 in Florida.
One party is no more than two years older than the other, a licensed physician verifies in writing the existence of pregnancy, or if the parents or guardian of each minor consents in writing to the marriage.

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