Child bride reveals her parents forced her to marry a man 19 years her senior at AGE 13 to ‘save him from prison’

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A former child bride – now 51 candidly shared her harrowing experience of being groomed, raped and impregnated at age 13.

Dawn Tyree, from California, was forced by her father and step-mother to marry a man 19 years her senior after he first got her pregnant.

The now 51-year-old is campaigning to end abuse against children and is calling for lawmakers to close all loopholes around underage marriage.

By age 16 she had two toddlers in tow and found out she had a third child on the way – but decided that enough was enough and walked away from the marriage.

Her father signed off on the pair’s marriage and Dawn (pictured as a schoolgirl) was wed after finishing sixth grade in 1985

Dawn’s shocking story began at just 11 years old when a man 19 years her senior, who worked as her nanny, began grooming her.

She says that he gave the youngster adult responsibilities, such as driving a car, so that she would feel older.

The 32-year-old impregnated her when she was aged 13. Her father quickly signed off on the pair’s marriage and Dawn was wed after finishing sixth grade in 1985.

‘The solution was marriage,’ Dawn told TODAY.

Dawn Tyree, from California, was forced by her father and step-mother to marry a man 19 years her senior after he first got her pregnant

‘Marriage covers up the rape, the sex abuse and the child endangerment.

‘The marriage saved him from a prison sentence,’ she added, ‘and essentially put me in a prison.’ She continued: ‘As minors, we can’t do anything about it. It was a confusing time. It is brainwashing — call it what it is.’

The following year, Dawn learned that she was pregnant again at age 16. This time, she said that things were different after becoming concerned about sexual abuse directed towards her children.

She told the publication: ‘It was a hard pill to swallow — it put a little lump in my throat. But I lived through the first birth, so I just reassured myself: ‘You’re going to be OK. You can do this.’

‘When I became pregnant again, I felt very trapped, so I made the decision to terminate the pregnancy and I escaped without a plan.’

Dawn left the marriage with a two-year-old and one-year-old in tow. She sought refugee at a women’s shelter but said that she was turned away because she was a minor.

The now 51-year-old is campaigning to end abuse against children and is calling for lawmakers to close all loopholes around underage marriage

This rendered Dawn homeless and she was forced to give her children over to their paternal grandparents while she got back on her feet.

She said that she soon found a roommate and took her children back in order to care for them herself.

Dawn said that when she told people her story they would often ask if she was part of a religious cult.

She told the publication: ‘The answer is no. My parents were not religious at all. The truth is, child marriage stretches across all economic, social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. It knows no moral compass.

‘The campaigner decided that she should use her story to take a stand against child abuse and became a vocal advocate for ending child marriage.

In 2019, she provided testimony to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands in favor of setting the age limit for marriage at 18 with no exceptions.

The measure, which got approved, closed off the legal loopholes that allowed children as young as 14 to marry.

Dawn waited until she was 18 to finalize her divorce and formally win custody of her children before she could finally ‘breathe a sigh of relief.’

It was not until 2018 that Dawn began researching child marriage. She said that she was spurred to explore what had happened to her as a teenager but was shocked to discover that hers was not an isolated incident.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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