A recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report revealed a distressing state of affairs regarding children’s rights in the United States. This eerie report revealed children’s limited rights regarding marriage, labor, and corporal punishment, especially in conservative states touting “family values.”
Shocking Children’s Plight Unveiled
HRW unveiled a damning portrait of the rights of children in the United States, painting a bleak picture of their treatment, especially in states that champion “family values.”
Startling Findings of Children’s Rights
According to HRW, an alarming number of states (41) in the U.S. allow children to be legally married, physically punished in schools, sentenced to life without parole, and even work in hazardous agricultural conditions.
A Disturbing Trend
The worst states for children’s rights are consistently found in the Bible Belt, aligning with a map of red-state America.
Concerning Conservative and Liberal States
Though conservative states display a concerning lack of child protection, liberal states too lag in adequately safeguarding the rights of children.
Ignoring the Innocent
The report fell short of addressing forced births, revealing how states banning abortion force children, including child rape victims, to carry pregnancies against their will.
Alarming Rates of Child Marriage
More than a quarter of a million children were married off in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, some as young as 10 years old.
Most of these marriages involved underage girls and adult men.
Even worse, some of these states do not allow married minors to divorce, and domestic violence centers usually do not accept children.
Shocking Legal Gaps
Only nine U.S. states mandated legal adulthood before marriage, while nearly half of the states allowed 16-year-olds to enter into marriage. Shockingly, six states set no minimum marital age at all.
Opposition to Child Marriage
Activists who strive to raise the minimum marriage age face opposition from Republican politicians and unexpected resistance from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in certain states.
Widespread Acceptance of Corporal Punishment
Almost 50% of American children suffer from corporal punishment, an act considered child abuse by a large number of countries around the world.
Shockingly, this abuse was legal as long as the children didn’t sustain severe injuries.
Lack of Protection in Schools
Only three states outright banned corporal punishment in public and private schools, while 22 states allowed it in schools without restrictions.
Domestic Violence Against Children
The legal landscape tolerated domestic violence against children, normalizing abuse by allowing parents to hit them without facing serious consequences.
Alarming Double Standard
Children were demoted to a category where it was deemed acceptable for adults to assault and abuse them.
Absence of Legal Safeguards
Despite understanding the detrimental effects of corporal punishment, there was a lack of meaningful efforts to halt this cruel practice from politicians across the US.
Children’s Voices Silenced
Unable to vote, children are left defenseless against a system that permits wide leeway for adults to abuse them under the guise of punishment.
The Simple Solution: No Hitting
The fundamental principle of not hitting people, especially defenseless children, remains controversial in the United States, reflecting a concerning societal stance on violence towards minors.
Urgent Need for Change
A shift in mindset and legislation is crucial to ensure a safer and more nurturing environment for children in the United States.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Veronika Klim. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.