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Minor Marriage Leads to Domestic Violence and Mental Illness, Study Says

Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
Wikimedia Commons
A woman holds a sign with a message about ending child marriage.

In Florida, minors can currently marry if they have parental consent or if the couple is expecting a child, but Senate Bill 140 aims to change that.

Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto of District 27, the district covering the majority of Lee County, introduced the bill, citing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' conclusions that "child marriage leads to increased risk of domestic violence as well as mental and physical illnesses."

Dr. Judith McFarlane was the lead researcher of "Child Brides, Forced Marriage, and Partner Violence in America," the 2016 study being quoted by these efforts.

Dr. McFarlane joins Gulf Coast Live to discuss her findings in the context of this recent bill.

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.