Fraidy Reiss

Founder and Executive Director

Unchained At Last

Fraidy Reiss

Fraidy Reiss is a survivor turned activist. She was 19 when she was forced to marry a stranger who turned out to be violent – and subjected to a virginity examination before the wedding. She lost all sexual and reproductive rights within her abusive marriage, forced to have unprotected marital sex and forced to have two children without her consent. When she finally managed to escape her abusive forced marriage, her family shunned her.

Fraidy rebuilt her life and founded Unchained At Last, the only organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in the United States through direct services and advocacy.

Fraidy’s research and writing on forced and child marriage have been published extensively, including in the New York Times, Washington Post and Journal of Adolescent Health and by Oxford Press, making her one of the foremost experts on these abuses in the U.S. She has been featured in books (including as one of the titular women in Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s The Book of Gutsy Women), films (including the award-winning documentary Knots: A Forced Marriage Story) and countless television, radio and print news stories.

Through Unchained, Fraidy has helped hundreds of survivors escape forced marriages, and she now leads a growing national movement to end child marriage in every U.S. state and at the federal level. Legislation she helped to write and promote has been passed into law in multiple U.S. states.