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I take a speech class at a local community college and I wanted to inform my class about the subject of Female Genital Mutilation, and I was wondering if you could answer a couple questions for me:

1. What do you forsee in the future on the subject of Female Genital Mutilation, do you think that women all over the world will someday be able to experience the basic rights to deny mutilation and forced abortions, etc., and if so when do you feel that this will happen?

2. What types of things is your organization doing to help these women?

3. What can we as citizens do to help?

Thank you for you time and help it is greatly appreciated.



Dear Melissa,

Thanks for taking the time to inform your class about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I have attempted to answer your questions and also mentioned other organizations that can be of further help to you.

1. Already FGM is a global problem so it will take global solutions.

Previously, we had thought that it was an injustice concentrated in Muslim and/or Middle Eastern and African countries. While that is certainly where most of the cases occur, the "procedure" happens around the world. The good news that goes along with this is that more and more people are learning about it and more and more people are learning that it is an injustice, not culture (the latter had previously been the argument that people used to continue/justify it). I think the first step toward eradicating the procedure is acknowledging that it is a global problem--and that is what we are in the midst of today. A worldwide education on the issue. Once we understand that it does happen and where it happens, as well as why it happens, which is primarily to keep women from realizing their equal place in society--then we can begin to change it. To change it--we first need this consciousness change. However, because many people won't come to these conclusions on their own, we will need laws in place that will monitor these injustices and we will need penalties for those who commit this acts of human rights abuse that go beyond a slap on the wrist.

2. Feminist.com has joined in the movement to abolish FGM in two main ways. One is education--making sure our visitors are aware that it happens, that it's wrong to happen. In this area, we provide the Feminist.com/V-Day Anti-Violence Resource Guide, which includes a listing of books and organizations that are focused on this subject. Books such as Warrior Marks by Alice Walker and others by Hanny Lightfoot Klein and Efua Dorkenoo; two, is links to other groups and promoting other groups who are working to stop this injustice--groups such as Equality Now and fgm.org. Also, we just posted a column about FGM by Equality Now.

3. Citizens can educate themselves and others on the subject. They can lobby the UN to pass restrictions; and they can put pressure on the U.S. government to allow women to immigrate to this country when they don't want to be forced to be mutilated in their own countries. The organizations mentioned above will also have suggestions of what citizens can do.

I hope that helps--and thanks again for making sure that your classmates know about this injustice.

Good luck.


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