It started with a secret…..

For my daughter Ashley who first lit the spark in me to live and to make it count.

It started with a secret..

It started with a whisper …

It started with a question….

It grew to a tribe…

It blossomed into hope ….

It spread like fire …

It burned in the minds of everyone it touched….

It ended with passion and fight ….

It rested in relief and a promise of safety and protection….

In less than a year I stepped out of the shadows and told my story for the world to hear. I told my secret to anyone who wanted to hear. Those that heard it began to whisper it to their friends and neighbors. The question was posed,how many more are there? I began to search for answers and the flowed my way. In data and in personal reflection it grew on and on. The numbers rose, the problem identified, the tribe found one another and came together.

Hope blossomed in the form of sisterhood, strength, courage and resilience and the spark became a fire. Soon just about everyone had their flame lit within and began to work together to bring about the hope that never gain will this happen to another Hoosier child. Legislators, law enforcement, judges, coalitions, business, organizations and many more began to passionately work together to end child marriage in our state. At first they said it can’t be done.. then later how can we get it done. They fought and won on this historic night in our beloved Hoosier, state we put an end to child marriage. Those brave survivors and children of survivors who stood in this space with me can rest knowing that our Hoosier children are safe and protected from the horrors of what happened to us.

But its not done yet…it still burning..

Thank you for the spark @ Human Library Fort Wayne & @fort806 that started the fire @RedTableTalk

That spread to @peoplemagazine @oprahmagazine

And became a brush fire after @DatunorroClark with @NBC

And @ElaishaStocks @CBSdocumenties and continued to burn

Thank you to the legislators who worked tirelessly on this effort. Thank you to Tahirih Justice Center and Jeanne Smoot

Big thanks to Lindsey with Frost Todd Brown for your hours of pro-bono work and serious legislative ninja skills you are truly inspiring.

Thank you to my peers and colleagues on The Anti Trafficking Coalition of North East Indiana.

Resiliency Foundation board and staff

AHA Foundation

Sara Tasneem Advocacy

The Naila Amin Foundation

Girls not Brides

The YWCA of North East Indiana

The Drug and alcohol consortium

My peeps on the IPATH Task force

Indiana coalition to end sexual assault and human trafficking

Indiana coalition to end domestic violence

Great Kids Make Great Communities

Kids Voice of Indiana

Survivors Corner ( Ky)

Indiana State Bar Association Family Law Section

Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program

Indiana Youth Services Association

Fort Wayne Allen County NAACP

Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council

Rise Consulting

Zonta USA District 6

So many more who offered financial support, encouragement and all around good vibes!

Thank you to the other survivors who stood on the battlefield with me in strength and grace. The children of survivors who had the courage to stand up and say enough! To Donna Pollard who came up from Kentucky to share her story of heartbreak and trauma living as a married minor in Indiana.

Together we can come together and be the change we want to see in the world.

Published by Genevieve Meyer

Genevieve Meyer always felt like a throwaway​ child - a lost cause that no one wanted to invest anything into. "When I was married off at 15 that feeling was solidified. People knew it was going to happen. I even asked for help - a place to live, someone to intervene - but no one rescued me. I was just a 'poor white trash girl' with a difficult, mentally-ill mother and no one gave my being married off to a 42-year-old man a second thought." Child marriage is currently legal in all but one state in the U.S. The repercussions of this reality are real - domestic violence, inability to complete education, lack of job skills - all leading to being trapped in the marriage. Meyer has lived in the Fort Wayne area for 14 years. She recently earned her MBA, following completion of an undergraduate degree at Purdue Fort Wayne. She manages a mental health facility in Fort Wayne which helps children and their families heal from trauma. Driven by her own story of trauma, she works to advocate and educate about the harmful effects of child marriage. She lives in the country with her husband of 12 years, and together they are raising 4 children and several animals.

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