Drexel University: Female Genital Mutilation is Child Abuse


Event Description:

On May 26, 2021, F.A. Cole spoke to the students at Utah State University about her personal experience with FGM, determination to advocate against it, and efforts to raise awareness and provide support for survivors.


Cole shared that she had undergone FGM at the age of 11 in Sierra Leone, without proper explanation or anesthesia. Contrary to popular misconceptions, she clarified that FGM was not a religious practice.


Cole highlighted how the trauma and pain stayed with survivors throughout their lives and recounted the physical and emotional pain she had endured. Cole emphasized that survivor stories and advocacy were crucial in dismantling the practice of FGM, and there is a strong need for support and understanding from both survivors and non-survivors to create change and end this harmful tradition. Her own journey towards self-esteem and healing includes restorative surgery and sharing her story to empower others.


Female genital mutilation is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. FGM is often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage. The World Health Organization reports that FGM has no health benefits and can cause serious and often lifelong physical and psychological health problems.