May Newsletter: The shocking moment you first realize FGM and child marriage happen in the U.S.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, two practices that violate human rights, can seem like foreign concepts in the U.S. The first time you learn about their prevalence in a developed country like ours, it’s staggering. Many people tell me this is their reaction.
With everything I had heard about the U.S. before I moved here, I was certain it would be a place with zero tolerance for these forms of gender-based violence. When I discovered there was hardly any legislation preventing these practices, I moved quickly to establish AHA Foundation and fight for change. Our two blogs this month focus on women, who at some point in their life, not only had similar realizations but also similar responses.
Meanwhile, Brooke Bumgarner, our Prospect and Program Development Coordinator, saw what child marriage does to children and their communities first-hand while working in Tanzania. This experience led her to dedicate her career to the fight to save children from this and other dangerous cultural practices. Read about her journey to AHA Foundation here.
I know you’ve felt similar frustrations like Elizabeth, Brooke, and I. However, it’s these frustrations that spur us to action. This month, we celebrated a new victory. The Rhode Island legislature voted unanimously to ban all marriage before the age of 18. Rhode Island will now become the 5th state in the U.S. to ban all child marriage!