FAIRFIELD, NJ — Unchained at Last, a nationwide non-profit that is dedicated to helping women and girls leave or avoid arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives, recently honored Fairfield-based attorney Matthew Rosen of Hammerman Rosen LLP for helping a woman “unchain” from a forced marriage.
Unchained at Last was started by Fraidy Reiss, who was the valedictorian of her class at Rutgers. According to Rosen, Reiss was in an arranged Hassidic marriage herself and needed to escape that lifestyle.
The organization she started based on her own experience has two main functions: to change the law regarding child marriage, which they recently were able to do in New Jersey, and to assist women escaping arranged and forced marriages. A part of the second function is matching those in need with pro-bono attorneys.
“This is where I come in,” said Rosen. “I can’t talk about my client for confidentiality reasons, but she is my third client with Unchained, and each one has been a horror show—abuse, neglect, everything.
“I handle the actual divorce and Unchained continues to support them in other areas as well. Often these clients are coming out of some religious zealotry or were forced to move away from friends and family or even to come to America in the first place.”
Stating that the organization is a “great great cause,” Rosen said that it is no skin off his back to just handle one more pro-bono divorce.
“This is probably the most meaningful work I currently do, and it builds off my Peace Corps Service, which was also a women’s service project,” said Rosen. “It takes a lot of patience—there’s a big cultural divide between me and these clients, but its necessary.”
To learn more about Unchained at Last, click HERE.