Last year, the FBI arrested a doctor near Detroit who allegedly cut the genitals of as many as 100 girls in a clinic in Michigan. This case shows that girls in the U.S. are still at risk from a dangerous practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM), despite a U.S. federal law against the practice.
We work around the clock to expose this well-hidden abuse, help girls at risk, and enact state legislation to ban the practice. The momentum is growing but our resources are extremely limited and opposition is mounting. Voices have emerged insisting that FGM should be allowed in a less physically-invasive way. They severely jeopardize the ongoing efforts to end this dangerous practice once and for all.
They argue that a “ritual nick” on female genitals can be a symbolic way to address their rationale for the practice – preparation of girls for adulthood. But they close their eyes to the fact that harmful traditional practices – such as FGM, child and forced marriage and honor violence – are imposed on women to control their sexuality and behavior.
To those who argue for FGM, we say that no tradition or culture can be used as an excuse to justify violating the human rights of girls and women! FGM must not be permitted in any shape or form. The only way to protect girls against FGM is to demand and fight for zero tolerance. No matter the extent of the procedure, FGM has no benefits and can have lifelong physical and psychological consequences. Even a pinprick, used to symbolize the mutilation of a girl, can cause a lifetime of emotional damage, not to mention the possibility of infection and the spread of disease that could follow from it.
Please stand with us as we continue to break the silence about FGM in the U.S. and fight for zero tolerance of the practice. The need is great. Aware of the risks of FGM, legislators in 8 states are urging the passage of drafted legislation against this abuse. We are working state by state with legislators to protect girls. Since the beginning of the year, we have encouraged legislators in 12 states to pass legislation that would protect women and girls from FGM and child marriage.
These efforts, coupled with direct assistance to survivors and girls at risk, as well as training for police officers, medical professionals, and social service providers, are all important, urgent actions we must continue to deliver. Your support makes this work possible.
Our goal is to raise $500,000 this spring. Please renew your support and join us in taking a stand for zero tolerance against FGM and other harmful traditional practices in the U.S.
For more information, read AHA Foundation Founder Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s article that shines light on all forms of FGM, urges the American public to see this abuse for what it is, and stop discounting the risks of the dangerous practice for the sake of cultural sensitivity.