Fraidy Reiss was 19 when her family arranged her marriage to a violent man. With no education or job, in a religious community where only men can grant a divorce, she was trapped for 12 years.
Reiss escaped by becoming the first in her family to attend college. She graduated from Rutgers University at 32 as valedictorian, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Her family declared her dead, but Reiss launched a successful career as an investigative reporter and then as a private investigator. She got divorced and won custody of her two daughters. And she founded and now leads Unchained At Last, the only organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in the U.S. through direct services and advocacy.
Reiss is recognized internationally as an expert on forced and child marriage in the United States. Her writing on the subject has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and countless other publications, and she has been interviewed and featured by those outlets as well BBC, PBS, NPR, CNN, CBS and others.
Legislation she helped to write to end or reduce child marriage has been introduced and, in some cases, already passed in multiple U.S. states.