Child marriage is legal in 48 of the 50 states in the U.S., and more than a dozen states have no official minimum age limit to get married. Due to specific legal loopholes, girls and women across the country are being coerced, pressured, threatened and physically forced into marriages against their will, with little to no recourse. Fraidy Reiss was one of those women. Born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, she was forced into an arranged marriage at the age of 19. After living with an abusive husband for 13 years, Fraidy escaped, only to be shunned by her family and ostracized by her community. Today, she is working to change the laws and running the first and only non-profit aimed at helping women in the U.S. resist or escape forced marriages.
In the spirit of the original defender, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Great Big Story is proud to celebrate the fearless, the headstrong and the undeterred with our series, “Defenders.” Watch the complete series now, and don't miss the next televised release of CNN Films’ documentary, “RBG” on Monday, September 9 at 8 p.m. EST.