MEDIA ALERT: FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION & CHILD MARRIAGE EXPERT SPEAKING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THIS WEEK
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 January, 2018
New Hampshire legislators are considering a bill to criminalize female genital mutilation and AHA Foundation experts on FGM and child marriage are available for comment.
“It is crucial that the House Criminal Justice and Safety Committee supports House Bill 1739: Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation,” says Amanda Parker, Senior Director at the AHA Foundation. “This bill will put New Hampshire on the right side of history in regard to gender-based violence, along with the 26 other states that have criminalized FGM.”
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of women’s and girl’s human rights. It involves the removal of part, or all, of a girl’s external genitalia in an effort to control her sexual appetite.
“Granite staters must wake up to the scale of this problem,” says Ms Parker. “The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk or have undergone of FGM in the United States. The Population Reference Bureau estimates that 403 of those girls live in New Hampshire.”
There are various types and degrees of FGM ranging from pricking or incising the genital area to the most severe, which involves removing or cutting external tissue including the clitoris, inner and outer labia and sewing or narrowing the opening to leave only a small hole to allow for menstruation and urination. FGM has no health benefits. Many girls who undergo FGM face lasting physical and psychological consequences.
“New Hampshire has a patchy record when it comes to protecting the rights of girls,” says Ms Parker.
“Legislators are also reviewing the state’s inadequate protections against child marriage. Currently girls as young as 13 can marry here despite overwhelming data showing poor outcomes for children in this situation – high rates of divorce, abuse and poverty. Legislators are considering a number of bills on this issue, but none of them sufficiently protect children from the harms of underage marriage,” says Ms Parker.
Amanda Parker, Senior Director of the AHA Foundation is available for interview on FGM and child marriage this week.