Chandler pushes bill to prosecute female mutilation – Telegram & Gazette

More Common Than You Think

BOSTON — It was 1988 in Sierra Leone, Africa. Four blindfolded sisters under the age of 18, the youngest being 11, waited anxiously with their mother and father outside the bondo bush, a private enclosure constructed near their village. The oldest walked in, unaware of what was about to happen to her.

Despite putting up a fight, her grandmother used a knife and removed her clitoris and labia without any anesthetic. She screamed and almost bled to death.

“It was horrible, very painful and barbaric,” said the 48-year-old Massachusetts resident who twice testified anonymously in support of proposed legislation to protect girls in Massachusetts from female genital mutilation, with no exceptions to religion, culture, or parental consent.

State Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, introduced the bill at the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. The bill was placed under review last March, indefinitely postponing action.

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