The North Carolina girl never intended to be in this situation.

Pregnant at 15.

Marrying the 17-year-old father.

But it was 1996.

And the girl lived in Eden, a conservative town bordering Virginia, with a population around 15,000 and a community that believed the only thing a girl could do in this situation was take responsibility for becoming pregnant and make it right.
“It was very shaming and very uncomfortable,” said the girl, now a 40-year-old woman.

Agreeing to marry the father, court documents show, led to years of abuse, which she’s still trying to escape.

And her experience is being repeated with teenagers in North Carolina today.

Under North Carolina law, 14- or 15-year-olds can marry if they become pregnant and 16- or 17-year-olds can marry with a parent’s permission.

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