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Female Genital Mutilation in the US? - Sadly Yes

By Lakshmi Anantnarayan  Posted by Richmond Shreve (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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It is estimated that 100 to 140 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM around the world. Taina Bien-Aime', Executive Director of Equality Now says, "While many have heard about this human rights abuse, little is known about the formidable and fearless grassroots movement that has for years worked tirelessly to eradicate FGM, which is why Equality Now decided to produce Africa Rising."

The film travels through remote villages in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania, highlighting the diverse ways in which activists are putting an end to this human rights violation against women and girls. From working with circumcisers to lay down their knives, convincing community leaders to help end FGM, engaging the police to implement the law, and fostering a vibrant youth movement, FGM activists have creatively and resourcefully conceptualized a broad-based anti-FGM movement. The film will premiere in New York on November 3, 2009 at 7.00 pm at the NYU Cantor Film Center and will be hosted by Meryl Streep.

Everyday 6,000 girls are at risk of undergoing FGM through out the world. In the US, 228,000 women and girls are estimated to have undergone or are at risk of FGM. Census data from 2000 indicates that over 40,000 women and girls are at risk in the metropolitan region of New York, Northern New Jersey and Long Island. Metropolitan New York is considered to have the highest concentration of women and girls at risk of undergoing FGM in the US, yet there is little awareness or services to address the specific needs of these women and girls.

New York passed a law prohibiting FGM in 1997, which criminalizes the practice in the state. But advocates say this law doesn't go far enough since the biggest issue they face is girls who are subjected to FGM during school vacations when they are taken back to their parents' countries of origin. The New York law does not criminalize the removal of a child from the state to subject her to FGM. Out of 17 states that have outlawed FGM in the US, only Georgia and Nevada have the so called "vacation provision." In order to address this and other deficiencies, New York activists will launch a new statewide coalition that will advocate for strengthening New York's anti-FGM law, increase resources to address FGM more effectively, and raise awareness among practicing communities.

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Equality Now works to protect and promote the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women. Equality Now's Women's Action Network is comprised of more than 35,000 organizations and individuals in more than 160 countries. For more information, please visit www.equalitynow.org, and www.africarisingthefilm.com


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Richmond Shreve is a retired business executive whose careers began in electronics (USN) and broadcasting in the 1960s. Over the years he has maintained a hobby interest in amateur radio, and the audio-visual arts while working in sales and (more...)

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