The shocking and disappointing news of the decision on Tuesday, November 20th 2018 to invalidate the federal FGM/C law, which has led to the dismissal of several key charges against the two doctors and six others accused of subjecting nine girls to FGM/C in the historic FGM /C case in Michigan further validates that this issue even more prevalent in the United States, as nearly half a million women and girls face the threat of being cut without their consent.
As a member of the US End FGM/C Network Steering Committee, we share the collective Network Statement in response to this case.
Our collective response will make it clear that this decision is unacceptable, and that we will continue the movement to ensure that all women and girls in the US and around the globe are protected from this harmful practice.
The appropriate response to FGM in America is to pursue an atmosphere of zero tolerance, enforced at both the legislative and community level. It is critical that elected representatives understand the threat that exists today for hundreds of thousands of women and girls living in the United States. There must be an increased focus on raising awareness about this heinous practice. As awareness is increased, pressure is brought to bear on lawmakers and they are compelled to improve our social protection systems.
In the second half of 2017, the Muslim American Leadership Alliance received three calls directly related to under-age girls who were at imminent risk of FGM. All of these girls were living and located in the United States. In responding to these calls, we came to understand that there is a deeply flawed protocol to report for potential victims, or survivors, of FGM/C in America to turn to for help: After extensive research and numerous calls across multiple government agencies, just to determine the pathway to reporting, we were ultimately able to report these cases to the Department of Justice, where we were directed. We believe the path to building the necessary community and federal resources begins with demonstrating advocacy and building awareness.