A bill to criminalize the practice of female genital mutilation in Kentucky unanimously passed out of a Senate Committee Wednesday. Advocates says this law could protect hundreds of girls in Kentucky.
Amanda Parker with the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation said more than 18 hundred women and girls in Kentucky are at risk of or have undergone female genital mutilation, according to the population reference bureau. “So if you think about the fact that 98% of women in Somalia undergo female genital mutilation, 90% of women in Egypt undergo female gential mutilation. And then those populations are moving to the United States, they don’t necessarily leave those harmful practices at the door when they land,” Parker said.
Jenny, who we are identifying by first name only to protect her privacy, is a survivor of FGM who says it’s a silent issue, not talked about even among survivors.
“People tend to want to say it’s one religion, culture, or country, but there’s no one religion that supports this practice, or culture or country. That’s another reason I wanted to be here today was just to drive that home,” said Jenny.
In addition to creating a felony crime, the legislation requires the state department of public health to develop, produce, and disseminate educational materials related to female genital mutilation. If enacted, it would also permit civil action for FGM for ten years.
Here's the interview with FGM survivor Jenny and Amanda Parker with the AHA Foundation. It begins with Jenny:
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