TIME’S UP ON POLITICAL STALEMATE AROUND FGM IN MAINE
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
For immediate release: Monday 5 February 2018
Just as the Patriots had to finally put the ball down on Sunday night, so too must Maine legislators who have allowed female genital mutilation to become a political football in the state.
The AHA Foundation calls on legislators to set their political differences aside and put Maine on the right side of history in regard to gender-based violence. “Tuesday is Zero Tolerance Day for FGM, and it’s time for Maine to join the 26 other states that have outlawed female genital mutilation (FGM),” says Amanda Parker, Senior Director at the AHA Foundation.
“At a time when women’s rights are being championed across the country with the #MeToo movement, surely “Time’s Up” for Maine legislators on playing political hot potato with the human rights of girls in their communities,” says Ms Parker.
Ms Parker and FGM survivor F.A. Cole are speaking in Augusta Tuesday to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights. It involves the removal of part, or all, of a girl’s external genitalia in an effort to control her sexual appetite.
Various types of FGM range from pricking the genital area to removing or cutting external tissue including the clitoris, inner and outer labia and sewing or narrowing the opening leaving only a small hole for menstruation and urination. FGM has no health benefits. Many girls who undergo FGM face lasting physical and psychological consequences.
“FGM is a UN-designated human rights abuse. It is not a religious practice, but a cultural one. Yet, no culture can justify violence against women and girls,” says Ms Parker.
“The AHA Foundation encourages Maine legislators to support the Governor’s Bill LD 1819,” says Ms Parker. “This Bill sends a strong message that FGM will not be tolerated in the state. And importantly, this Bill includes provision to prevent girls being trafficked across state lines to undergo the barbaric procedure, which we know, anecdotally, has happened to girls from Maine.”
Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense