Warning: This email is about Female Genital Mutilation and may be upsetting for some readers.
When I was a baby in Gambia, I was subjected to a practice known as Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM. My genitals were cut and sewn shut. The sutures had to be reopened when I was 15 and forced into an arranged marriage in America. I escaped that marriage, and now I’m fighting to make sure that no other little girl ever has to experience the horror of FGM.
FGM is a terrifyingly common practice — the World Health Organization estimates that more than 125 million women alive today have been cut. The experience is devastatingly painful, not just when it happens but for years afterward. The physical and emotional scars last for life.
The US has strong laws on the books to stop FGM, but those laws aren’t being enforced. We know that people are breaking the law to cut girls in America or illegally take them to be cut in other countries, but we don’t know how widespread the problem is or what concrete steps can be taken to solve it.
I started a petition on Change.org calling on President Obama and the Deparment of Health and Human Services to conduct a study about the current state of FGM in America so that steps can be taken to stop this atrocity. Please click here to sign my petition.
In some ways, I’m lucky that I was only a baby when I was cut. Some girls are much older. They’re told they’re going on vacation to visit relatives, but really, they’re being taken away to be attacked and mutilated by their own families.
I have an amazing daughter of my own, and I cannot stand by while this happens to beautiful little girls just like her. Just like it happened to me.
I know that public pressure from petitions works to highlight the issue of FGM — just recently, a petition in the United Kingdom prompted their Minister of Education to issue warnings about FGM to schools all over the country. I know that with similar pressure in the US, we can tackle this horrible problem here and make sure we’re protecting little girls across America.
Please sign my petition calling on President Obama and HHS to conduct a study about FGM in America so that the laws preventing it can actually be enforced.
Thank you for standing with women like me.