I am an American who has lived my whole life in my beloved state of Maryland. I want to stay here and continue raising my children here, but legislators are making that difficult by refusing to take simple steps to eliminate a human rights abuse that nearly destroyed me: child marriage.
I did not want to get married at 17. I wanted to finish high school and attend UCLA. I wanted choices in life and the power to make them. Even after I faked a suicide attempt in hopes that my guardians would realize I thought death would be better than being married off, I was flown to Pakistan, a country and people foreign to me, to marry. Within weeks, I was married off to a stranger and left there.
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