Study Examines Child Marriage in US
Thirty-seven year old Sara Tasneem once had big plans for her future.
During her first year in high school, Tasneem had decided she wanted to join the United States Air Force and go to law school. But her American-born father had different ideas. He gave her to a man to be married when she was only 15 years old.
At the time, Tasneem visited her father during the summer months. Normally, while attending school, she lived with her mother.
"My dad had become involved in a very...it's basically kind of like a cult. It's separate from the religion of Islam. It's different in its practices and beliefs," she said. "Growing up in the group, it was your role as a girl that you would just be a wife and a mom."
Sara Tasneem is not her real name, but one she used to protect her privacy.
Pregnant at only 16
Tasneem's father told her that, as a young woman, she was at an age when boys would start paying attention to her. He said she had to marry because sex outside of marriage was not unacceptable.
Tasneem was spiritually married to a man who was 28, 13 years older than her. She was then taken away to her husband's homeland. She told VOA she does not wish to identify the name of the country.
Tasneem and her husband returned to the United States when she was 16 and pregnant with her first child. They were legally married in Reno, Nevada. Tasneem said her husband, like her father, was abusive.
"I got really depressed, and I just remembered seeing kids my age going to school and thinking I want to be one of those kids. Why can't I go to school?" she asked.
‘Not stable' marriages
The United Nations considers marriage before age 18 to be a human rights violation. While the highest numbers of child marriages take place in the least developed nations, they are still a reality in the U.S.
Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, or UCLA, looked at information from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. They found that from 2010-2014, about 78,000 Americans between the ages of 15 and 17 said they were married.
Jody Heymann was one of the researchers. She heads the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Heymann notes that girls who marry at a young age often experience health and social problems.
"They are less likely to finish high school, 31 percent more likely to land in poverty in adulthood, and for girls, their health is threatened when they give birth young and the health of their babies is threatened," Heymann said.
She added that one difference between the United States and the rest of the world is that American boys are also getting married young.
Rates of child marriage in US
The Census Bureau numbers showed that for every 1,000 children, nearly seven girls under the age of 18 were married. Among underage boys, the rate was nearly six for every 1,000 children.
The Census Bureau study showed higher numbers of children of American Indian and Chinese American ancestry were married. Immigrant children were also more likely than U.S.-born children to have been married. Child marriages were also not linked to any one religion.
"There are child marriages across all ethnic groups and countries of origin, but those children who come from families that originated in Latin America, the Middle East or East Asia do have higher rates of child marriage," Heymann said.
In the states of West Virginia, Hawaii and North Dakota, more than 10 out of every 1,000 children reported being married at the time of the study.
Maine, Rhode Island and Wyoming, three other states, have much lower rates of child marriage, with less than 4 out of every 1,000 children being married.
The study found 20 percent of married children were living with their husband or wife; most of the rest were living with their parents.
"In one out of four, by the time they turn 18, they are already divorced or separated," Heymann noted.
‘I felt robbed'
Tasneem had two children with her husband before she was able to end her marriage.
"I really felt robbed. I felt robbed of my education and to this day I'm fighting to get my education back so it's a very long process because not only are you 10 steps behind your peers but now you're saddled with the responsibility of taking care of children on your own for the most part," Tasneem said.
Her children are now grown adults, and she recently remarried. But getting to this point was not easy.
"There's really no way to make somebody whole after taking away their freedom," Tasneem said.
She is now working on a higher-level education study program. She wants to be an activist for women's rights and fight human rights abuses.
I'm Phil Dierking.
1.law school 法学院
When we graduated from college and law school we had a mountain of debt.
2.human rights 人权
Human rights violations figured prominently in the report.
3.give birth to 生产；分娩
Women who suffer from calamity in conception are more likely to give birth to girls.
4.child marriage 童婚
India introduced laws against child marriage in 1929 and set the legal age for marriage at 12 years.
5.Now you're saddled with the responsibility of taking care of children on your own for the most part.
taking care of 照顾；照料
It was felt that she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself.
You and I are taking care of this in an unofficial capacity.
6.Now you're saddled with the responsibility of taking care of children on your own for the most part.
for the most part 大多数；大部分
Professors, for the most part, are firmly committed to teaching, not research.
For the most part he left the books to his managers and accountants.
37岁的莎拉·塔斯尼姆（Sara Tasneem）曾经对未来充满了规划 。
入学高中的第一年，塔斯尼姆决定要加入美国空军、考法学院 。但是，出生于美国的父亲却有不同的想法 。在她15岁时，父亲让她结婚了 。
当时，塔斯尼姆趁着暑假看望父亲 。平时上学期间，她和母亲一起生活 。
她说到：“爸爸加入了一个非常.....，总之有点像邪教（的组织） 。该组织是从伊斯兰宗教中分离出来的 。宗教活动和信仰都不相同 。在这个组织里，女孩们的角色只能是妻子和母亲 。
塔斯尼姆的父亲告诉她，作为一名少女，她正处于广受男孩们青睐的年纪 。她说，她必须结婚，因为婚外性行为是不被允许的 。
塔斯尼姆“灵魂”上嫁给了一位年长自己13岁的男人（28岁） 。婚后，她被丈夫带回了老家 。她告诉美国之音，她不想透露丈夫国家的名字 。
16岁的塔斯尼姆首次怀孕后与丈夫回到美国 。他们在内华达州雷诺市合法结婚 。塔斯尼姆说，丈夫与她的父亲一样是个虐待狂 。
“我真的非常沮丧，我记得看到跟我一般年纪的女孩去上学时，我也想成为她们中的一员 。为什么我不能去上学呢”她问道 。
联合国认为，未满18岁结婚是侵犯人权的行为 。尽管童婚人数在最不发达国家的居多，但在美国，童婚现象依然存在 。
加州大学洛杉矶分校的研究人员查看了美国人口普查局美国社区的报告 。他们发现，从2010年到2014年，约有7.8万美国人表示在15岁到17岁的时候结婚 。
朱迪·海曼（Jody Heymann）是研究员之一 。她是加州大学洛杉矶分校菲尔丁公共卫生学院的院长 。海曼指出，早婚的女孩往往会经历健康和社会问题 。
人口普查局的数据显示，每1000名儿童中，约有7名女孩在未满18岁时结婚 。而在未成年男孩中，每1000名儿童中约有6名男孩早婚 。
人口普查局的研究显示，拥有美国印第安人和华裔血统的子女早婚的人数较多 。移民子女也比美国出生的儿童更有可能早婚 。童婚也可能与宗教无关 。
“我真的感觉人生被抢劫了 。我认为，上学的权利被非法剥夺，直到今日，我依旧在为重新接受教育而努力，不过求学的过程漫长而艰辛，且不说比同龄人落后十步之遥，你还担负着大部分照顾孩子的责任 。”塔斯尼姆说道 。
如今，她的孩子已经成年，她最近也再婚了 。但走到这一步也实属不易 。
她现在正在进行一个高端教育研究项目 。她想成为妇女权益活动家，并反对侵犯人权的行为 。