FGM: Finally Girls Matter
According to the CDC, half a million girls in the United States may be at risk for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. About 50 000 of them live in the New York area. This number is an estimate, based on the number of immigrants from areas with a high prevalence of FGM/C. Actual cutting in the US is rare, or at least unreported. While the number also doubtless includes many who left precisely to escape this old practice - which is illegal in the US and many countries - it also includes girls who spend summer vacations with their grandparents and other relatives in their parents' home countries. These may take matters into their own hands, and the girls will be sent back to the US having been cut, with or without the knowledge and consent of their parents.
There is a renewed effort in the New York area to prevent this from happening. A committee convened by Sanctuary for Families has a network of experts in different fields involved in working to eradicate this practice in the NY area, hopefully also reaching the home countries where this is taking place.
The Kota Alliance is leading one of the subcommittees, which aims to build a database of grass roots groups and other points of contact in the NY Metropolitan area who want to help combat this procedure. We are collaborating with UMACA (USA-Mali Charitable Association) on their campaign: FINALLY GIRLS MATTER.
If you work in a community where this is an issue, we invite you to join as a volunteer or send us contact information for others, who may assist in spreading the information. We are looking for community groups of expats from Sub-Saharan countries in particular, where FGM/C is common. Churches and mosques who have members from these communities; school nurses and social workers; youth leaders, including high school students; ethnic restaurants, food stores, hair salons etc. who want to display fliers or posters - please contact us for more information and to share your view.