Why More American Women Are Victims of Female Gen!tal Mutilation

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By: Krystle Crossman

Female gen!tal mutilation is a very real problem in many countries. It was made illegal in the United States in 1996 however there are more women who are at risk in the U.S. than ever. It is unclear on just how many procedures have been performed in this country as it has been illegal for quite some time now but the risk is still there for many women and girls. Countries such as Djibouti and Egypt still have over 90% of their women and girls go through the procedure. In half of the countries where FGM is legal it is carried out before age 5.

Female gen!tal mutilation (FGM) is when some or all of the female gen!tals are removed with a razor blade. Sometimes they will give the patient anesthesia and sometimes they are not given any drugs at all. This is a very traumatizing experience for these young women that sticks with them throughout their teen and adult years. This practice is carried out because their countries want to control the female s*xuality and create gender inequality. It carries many side effects such as infections, cysts, bleeding, and chronic pain. Some women can even die from the procedure if it is not done properly.

So if it is illegal in the U.S. how are more women and young girls at risk than ever before? A study of data from 1990 showed that it was estimated that 168,000 women and girls were at risk. A new study conducted by the CDC in 2012 shows that the number is now over 513,000. Families who immigrate to the United States from countries where FGM is legal often send their women and young girls on “vacations” where they send them back to their country of origin or another country that allows FGM so they can have the procedure done. They then come back to the United States after the procedure has been completed. The CDC states that the large increase in the number of girls at risk is because there are more immigrants in the country now than in 1990 which means there are more girls here that are having the procedure done on these “vacations”.

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