Female genital mutilation happens in Kentucky. We must ban this barbaric practice – Courier Journal

Julie Raque Adams (left) is a Kentucky state senator from Louisville; Amanda Parker (right) is the Senior Director at AHA Foundation, an organization supporting women at risk from harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, Jennifer (not pictured), who we are only identifying by first name to protect her privacy, is a survivor of female genital mutilation and lives in Kentucky.

On Aug.19, the Kentucky Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare and Family Services heard testimony on female genital mutilation.

No one likes talking about genitals, especially the genitals of little girls, but the silence about female genital mutilation protects perpetrators and harms women and girls. That is why we — a senator, an activist, and a survivor — are speaking up about and fighting against this atrocity.

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 for nonmedical purposes. It is typically performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14, often with a razor blade or pair of scissors, to ensure their virginity until marriage and curb their libido. In the most physically severe form, following removal of all external tissue possible, what remains of a girl’s vulva is sewn up, leaving only a small hole for menstruation and urination.

Read more here.