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Study: Genital Mutilation Imposes Segregation on Immigrants’ American Daughters

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The imported practice of genital mutilation can segregate hundreds of thousands of American girls from their peers in mainstream American society, say two New York psychologists.

The hidden segregation, however, is being ended by President Donald Trump and his deputies, who announced mid-March a new national campaign against “Female Genital Mutilation” that is commonplace in some immigrant communities.

Genital cutting by immigrant parents “sets these [American victims] apart from the mainstream culture and may complicate their efforts to adjust to life in the United States and cause intergenerational conflict in some families,” according to Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith and Evangeline I. Sicalides, the authors of “Female Genital Cutting in the United States: Implications for Mental Health Professionals.”

Immigrant “parents may consider it important for their [American] daughters to be cut, regardless of the girls’ wishes, as a way to maintain their identity with the family and its [foreign] cultural community of origin. Others may want the girls in their family to undergo FGC as a way to protect them from aspects of American culture,” according to their article published in the October 2016 issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Female genital cutting (FGC) and female circumcision (FC) are politically correct terms for the practice of “Female Genital Mutilation.” The process removes part or all of the clitoris, or even all of the external genitalia, in female infants, children or adults. The practice is widespread in Islamic northern Africa, where the most radical versions of the process are inflicted in Somalia. In many cases, the damaged woman is made unable to provide genital lubrication, which is deemed sexually distasteful in some communities that practice FGM.

FGM is in the news because Trump’s deputies at the Department of Justice and the FBI have promised to end the practice — and have already arrested a group of Muslim doctors in Detroit for performing FGM on several American girls. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” said the acting U.S. Attorney in Detroit, Daniel Lemisch.

Trump’s effort to save hundreds of thousands of Americans girls from the peculiar institution replaces the say-nothing, see-nothing policy of the pro-immigration,  pro-multicultural policy imposed by former President Barack Obama.

The two New York psychologists are not political activists seeking to reduce and protect the practice as it spreads by immigration into Western Europe and the United States. Instead, they are therapists who help other experts deal with the after-effects of the imported practice.

“[I]t is our professional and ethical responsibility to be informed about this cultural practice, and to possess the awareness, knowledge, and skills to intervene,” the psychologists say.

The psychologists’ primary concern is that females who have been cut may become patients of U.S. healthcare providers who have no awareness or acceptance of the immigrant practice and may bring “unexamined opinions and attitudes” to their treatment of these females.

Their recommendation is that healthcare providers exempt themselves from the politics, and merely treat FGM as a medical issue. Providers should avoid “pathologizing the experiences of all girls and women who have undergone FGC,” while also familiarizing themselves with the legal issues and physical and psychological complications associated with the procedure, they wrote.

“A thorough understanding of these factors is fundamental to promoting appropriate care for those who have had FGC and for developing effective interventions to prevent new FGC cases in the United States where the practice is illegal,” the authors write.

Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides attribute the rise of FGM in the United States to the increase in immigration from countries that perform the procedure:

The precipitous rise in women and girls who are affected by FGC reflects a growth in immigration to the United States from countries with high FGC prevalence rates. More specifically, 55% of U.S. women and girls at risk come from Somalia, Egypt, and Ethiopia where the prevalence rates for females ages 15–49 are 98%, 91%, and 74%, respectively (Mather & Feldman-Jacobs, 2015). Sixty percent of these women and girls live in eight states: California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington (Mather & Feldman- Jacobs, 2015).

In the United States, approximately 513,000 females are either at risk of FGM or have already been cut, an estimate that is more than double the 228,000 observed in 2000 and three times more than the 1990 estimate of 168,000, established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, FGM has “no health benefits, only harm.” The immediate consequences of the procedure can include severe pain, excessive bleeding, fever, infections, shock, and even death. Long-term difficulties include urinary problems, sexual and childbirth complications, and psychological issues, says WHO.

Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides downplay the ties between FGM and Islam, saying the practice is sometimes “required by faith” – though they do not mention Islam or the Muslim faith. FGM, the authors note, is also performed on females to reduce sexual desire in women, assure virginity before marriage, and to increase male sexual pleasure. Additionally, some perform the practice because a woman’s genitalia is viewed as “dirty” and “aesthetically unpleasing.”

FGM became illegal in the United States in 1996, for girls under the age of 18. The practice is viewed as “gender-based torture” and as a “human rights violation,” note the psychologists.

Initially, U.S. law “excluded cultural grounds as a way to justify the practice of FGC,” the authors note. “To circumvent this law, parents and/or guardians sent girls abroad to undergo FGC, usually during the summer months. This practice came to be known as ‘vacation cutting.’” In 2013, however, Congress outlawed the “vacation cutting” practice as well.

Since 1994, 24 states also have criminalized FGM and at least 12 states have made the practice a felony for parents who allow their daughter to undergo the procedure.

States without specific FGM laws utilize their own child protection or child abuse laws as a means of reporting the procedure, Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides observe. They add, however, that mandated reporters – such as school personnel and healthcare providers – are “often unsure whether FGC constitutes [criminal] abuse and whether they have a legal obligation to report suspected cases of cutting.”

When female children have been cut, they are often hesitant to speak with state authorities for fear their parents or other relatives may be arrested, the authors explain.

The Trump administration Department of Justice has recently announced a national campaign to end the practice of FGM, even as the politically correct attitudes of the establishment’s media has minimized the public’s recognition of the problem among many Muslim immigrant families.

In a joint statement about the media’s failure to identify the exploitation of young girls exposed to FGM, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell and founder of anti-terror group ACT for America Brigitte Gabriel, said:

Where is the outrage? The hypocrisy is staggering. The networks, which have for years championed the causes of left-wing feminists and women’s rights, are conspicuously silent on this case and their silence is deafening. This is real exploitation of young girls and the usual suspects who ought to care have little to say about this form of torture making its way to America. This practice is illegal and immoral. The networks have an ethical responsibility to report that it’s happening here at home. If they don’t, they are guilty of aiding and abetting violence against women out of a politically correct fueled fear of offending Muslims.

Breitbart News recently reported three Detroit doctors have been arrested in what represents the first prosecution in the United States for FGM.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, owner of the Burhani Medical Center, and Drs. Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar have been charged in the FGM of two seven-year-old girls. Nagarwala was charged with allegedly performing the procedure on the victims, and the Attars – husband and wife – with allegedly being present during the cutting. According to the news report, Farida Attar was allegedly heard on a federal wiretap encouraging the parents of FGM victims “to deny they had brought their daughters to [the] Burhani clinic for the procedure.”

The report continues:

According to the complaint against Nagarwala, the victims’ parents brought them to the Detroit area for the gruesome procedure. The girls were told it was to be a “special girls trip.” The parents also allegedly said the cutting would “get the germs out” and that they were not to talk of what happened inside the Burhani clinic.

One of the girls later told the FBI she screamed in pain as she endured what Dr. Nagarwala called “getting a shot.” She then said she was barely able to walk as she left the clinic. Upon examination by doctors working with the FBI, both seven-year-olds were found to have genitalia that was “abnormal looking” with “scar tissue” and “small healing lacerations.”

Nagarwala was trained at Johns Hopkins University, but is reportedly the daughter of two Indian immigrants from the Bohra sect of Shia Muslims.

 


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