Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice we usually associate with some of the poorest countries in the world.
FGM involves cutting a young girl’s clitoris and/or labia for religious or cultural reasons. What you probably don’t know is that the practice hits closer to home than you may think. There has recently been a rise in FGM procedures in the United States, and women are now speaking out about what happened to them.
Renee Bergstrom underwent FGM when her Christian parents told their doctor that she was touching herself. He said he “could fix that.”
People don’t realize that FGM occurs across educational levels, social classes, and many religious groups, including Muslims, Christians, and animists.
The practice has no medical benefits and across the world the number of women experiencing FGM is declining. Unfortunately, in the U.S., there has been an alarming rise that’s resulted in triple the number of victims.
According to USA Today, “Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville, Mich., an emergency room doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, is presumed to be the first to be charged under federal law with a female genital mutilation crime on U.S. soil. She is accused of performing genital mutilation on multiple 6- to 8-year-old girls as part of a religious and cultural practice at a medical clinic in Livonia, Mich.”
While it’s illegal according to federal law, only 24 states currently have provisions about FGM, despite at-risk girls living in every state except Hawaii.