A Tragedy Close to Home: Genital Mutilation in the US

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Female genital mutilation, also referred to as female circumcision, is the removal of the female clitoris for non-medical reasons. The New York Metropolitan area has the highest cases of female genital mutilation in the US; approximately 41,000 cases. These women face major complications to their health, including infections, post-traumatic stress disorder and painful menstruation cycles.

Genital mutilation is concentrated in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. However, thousands of US girls living in immigrant communities are sent out of the country to places where genital mutilation is practiced. If women are not sent out of the country for the procedure, relatives from practicing counties come to the US to do the procedure. Although these immigrants have moved from their countries of origin, they want to continue their cultural traditions among their offspring–despite the health risks involved. The Girl Protection Act of 2011 made it illegal to transport a female out of the country for purposes pertaining to genital mutilation, yet girls in the US continue to remain at risk for these procedures.

Adesua Odigie, “New Yorkers Walk to End Ritual Cutting of Girls” WeNews commentator, September 12, 2012, http://womensenews.org/story/genital-mutilation/120911/new-yorkers-walk-end-ritual-cutting-girls

Student Researcher: Amanda Hill, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University