by mosexPosted on September 10, 2012
Female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as female circumcision occurs in the United States, and unfortunately has been increasing as the immigrant population grows. According to CAGeM, in 2000 it was estimated that 230,000 women and girls had either undergone or where at risk of being genitally mutilated in the United States, a 35% increase from 1990. The New York Metro area has the highest levels of FGM, with 40,813 based on reported cases.
Thousands of girls in the United States suffer female genital mutilation in the hands of their immigrant parents. The practice is the removal of all or parts of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is often performed without anesthesia. Reasons for the practice include preservation of virginity, faithfulness to husband, initiation into womanhood because the clitoris is a “male part”, avoiding “child death by clitoris”, and other superstitious beliefs. The practice is prevalent in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia but is also practiced by immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, and America. There are over 160 million genitally mutilated women in the world. Every year, 3 million girls and women will suffer the procedure.
The practice is prevalent in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia but is also practiced by immigrant communities in Europe, Australia, and America. There are over 160 million genitally mutilated women in the world. Every year, 3 million girls and women will suffer the procedure.
Dr. Eno Etuk, a spokesperson for CAGeM, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting FGM, stated “The summer holiday is a dangerous time for girls at risk of FGM in the United States. Tens of thousands of girls in families of immigrant communities send their girls out of the country to areas where FGM is ritually practiced to have them genitally mutilated in very unsterile conditions. Many girls facing FGM, run away from home causing parents to not disclose their intents to their children.” A bill, The Girl Protection Act of 2011 (H.R.2221), introduced into congress in June 2011 and into the senate as S.1919 in November 2011, would make illegal, travel out of the country for female genital mutilation illegal. “We hope to encourage congress to pass the Girl Protection Act into law by handing out mass petition cards at the walkathon to participants, which will then be mailed to legislators.”
Join CAGeM on Saturday, September 15, 2012 for the Restoring the Rose Walkathon, a 5K walk in New York City’s Riverside Park. The goal is to raise awareness on FGM and help victims get clitoral reconstructive surgery. United States survivors will gather with supporters to speak out against the practice and rally to raise funds to ship medical supplies and equipment to the first free hospital providing treatment for victims of FGM in Africa. The FGM victim restoration hospital established by CAGeM will allow women to receive free clitoral reconstructive surgery, a procedure developed by French surgeon Pierre Foldes that allows women who have undergone female genital mutilation to achieve clitoral orgasms and reduce pain. The hospital currently has over 500 women on the waiting list for the surgery. Meanwhile, CAGeM also works with victims in the United States to help them have the reconstructive surgery locally and provides much needed counseling for the trauma associated with FGM.
Participants who register will receive a Restoring the Rose walkathon t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fundraisers and teams. Free food and beverages will be available to all walkers after the event, plus music and opportunities to buy handmade goods from Africa made by victims to fight FGM.
CAGeM (Campaign Against Female Gential Mutilation) is a nonprofit organization that works exclusively against female genital mutilation, using health education as a tool towards eradication in several countries. CAGeM began to combat the practice in the United States last year. A federal law was passed against female genital mutilation in the United States in 1997 but as Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton noted on February 6, 2012, the International Day of Zero Tolerance against FGM, the practice still continues.