200,000 Girls in US at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


That number alone tells us something about the scale of immigration involved. What was once a European immigrant problem is now becoming an American immigrant problem.

The ancient, brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), once considered primarily a problem of the developing world, is a growing threat to girls and women in the United States, according to a new report.

The New York City-based non-profit organisation, which specialises in gender-based violence, said up to 200,000 girls and women in the United States are at risk of FGM and that the number is growing.

“People in the United States think that FGM only happens to people outside of the United States, but in all actuality, people here all over the country have been through FGM,” said Jaha, 23, formerly from Gambia and now a survivor and advocate against FGM.

“Kids that were born in this country are taken back home every summer and undergo this procedure,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

The study cited analysis of data from the 2000 census that found between 1990 and 2000 the number of girls and women in the United States at risk of the procedure – which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia – increased by 35 percent.

Most prevalent in immigrant African and Middle Eastern communities, FGM generally originates in the belief by some cultures that it preserves a girl’s virginity before marriage and discourages her from promiscuity after she is wed. In many communities, a girl is deemed unfit for marriage if she has not undergone FGM.

As Middle Eastern and African immigration to the United States rises, we end up struggling with barbaric practices that will persist regardless of any attempts to regulate them, just as they have in Europe.

  • Edward Cline

    Whatever Man: Don't make accusations without citing evidence. For all you know, Greenfield may be as opposed to that as he is to FGM.

    • defcon 4

      "The fact is that female genitalia mutilation is also a common practice in Christian communities in Africa." Do you have any evidence to support this theory? Or is it just a self evident delusion in your own mind?

  • cassie

    Circumcision is NOT barbaric, although i strongly believe that all babies should be given a local so not to feel it. Circumcision leads to a much cleaner life, and does nothing to affect the sexual pleasure in a man. Statistics have shown it helps to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases. FGM DOES in fact harm girls and women for the rest of their lives!

    • dusty

      You obviously don't know what your talking about. Very sexist! And yes circumcision ruins a mans senses just the way cutting the woman does. All in the name of Christianity. One more reason I am pagan! You really anger me with your ignorance.

    • Tara Adams

      I am a Pagan too, many years before it became so trendy… and I agree with you, Cassie, wholeheartedly. Because you're a Pagan does not mean you should ignore medical FACT.

  • JNDaley

    I'm not saying that circumcision isn't a bad thing here – BUT they aren't really comparable in scope. Circumcision is removal of the foreskin, as I'm sure you know. An analogous removal in a female would be removal of the clitoral hood – ONLY. FGM includes removal of some or all of the actual clitoris and some or all of the labia – in some cases, both sets of labia. The mildest version of FGM would be analogous to removing a good-sized piece of the head of the penis, while the worst form (infibulation) would be analogous to removing pretty much the entire penis.

    • nectoxicdragon

      UMMM no. You are lacking in comparative developmental human physiology in your comparison. The MAJOR differences however, begin at the point of the procedures themselves. Male circumcision, by the nature of the procedure is comparatively benign, where as FGM is outright brutal. It is also not done in a medical facility, by someone using sterile equipment, and in a manner that allows for safe healing. It is done with the singular intent to destroy sexuality through the infliction of brutalization during intercourse which as a result of the FGM is an act of brutalization and physical torture itself. The initial act of mutilation is only the first step in the brutality of this act. This is the "forgotten rape" of the act that is so common "for religious beliefs".

  • Trevor

    "Statistics have shown it helps to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases"

    Personally, i believe circumcising babies, M or F, in the name of "Culture", is a form of child abuse. Why not wait until the child reaches 18 years of age and then let them decide for themselves if they want to mutilate THEIR genitals!?!

    • Rushbabe

      Trevor. Circumcising baby boys is biblical, and healthy…
      Butchers cut these girls, often using dirty razors!

      There is no similarity.

      • Dusty

        bah ah ah ah hah! Let me guess you voted for Obama too!

      • Trevor

        "Circumcising baby boys is biblical…"

        It's also "Biblical" to put to death Homosexuals and adulterers. So my question is, do you also think/believe Homosexuals and Adulterers be put to death or do you think that it's barbaric to do so?.

        Obviously you can't or wont answer that question because you'll either,

        A} Confirm yourself as a hypocrite

        or

        B} Confirm yourself as an extremist in the exact same mold as the people you hate and claim are barbaric.

        Thanks for your contribution though.

    • dusty

      finally someone with a brain!

  • Trevor

    "Statistics have shown it helps to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases"

    Can you cite any sources?

    • Abby

      "Jan. 6, 2011 — Circumcising men can reduce cervical cancer risk in women, a new study shows.

      The study involved more than 1,200 HIV-negative, heterosexual couples living in Uganda, where circumcision of male adults is increasingly encouraged as a means of slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

      Half the men received the surgical procedure at enrollment and the other half were scheduled for circumcision after their participation in the trial ended.

      Two years later, the female partners of the men who remained uncircumcised were more likely than the partners of the circumcised men to be infected with human papilloma virus (HPV) types most often associated with cervical cancer.

      In earlier trials, Johns Hopkins University researcher Aaron A.R. Tobian, MD, PhD, and colleagues showed that male circumcision reduces HIV infection, HPV in men, and genital herpes.

      The new study appears online Friday in TheLancet.

      “It is now clear that male circumcision can reduce HPV in females and possibly prevent cervical cancer in settings where HPV vaccines are not available,” Tobian tells WebMD."

      • Cat K

        Yes, folks, there are health benefits. So please now be quiet on that point.
        Removing female external genitalia, is not done at birth, but later. It is not only very painful, with the risk of infection,. but removes the woman's ability to experience sensation associated with those body parts. This is not true of circumcision. Therefore all comparisons of the two procedures are specious or worse.
        For the anti-Semites commenting above, I have some news:Muslim males are circumcised too.
        (and that is why the hate bill in San Francisco to ban Judaism there through banning circumcision never passed).

    • Abby

      From the World Health Organization website:

      "There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomized controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence."

      • Trevor

        Actually the study is flawed and had to be redone since previously, circumcised men were encouraged to wear condoms. It should also be said that the study is in no way definitive and merely looks only at a small sample of cases, the results of which showed no huge health gains for circumcised men

        In order to show that circumcision has universal health benefits a study must take a huge amount of case studies from men all over the world and monitor, over a long period of time, health issues that also take cleanliness, sexual habits and promiscuity into consideration.

        Basically, the study is moot. For example, i could tell you, and it would be true, that Europe, which has a lower amount of circumcised males, has less HIV cases than countries where there is a large amount of circumcised males ie. Many African countries and the USA.

        Does this prove that having a foreskin is beneficial against STD's…certainly not, and this is because there's lots of other factors that have to be taken into consideration, some of which i mentioned above.

        Thanks though for your contribution.

    • lorraine

      I don't believe it helps at all. Growing up in Britain no male i knew was circumcised and I never knew a female with cervical cancer. If the man washes there is no problem.

      • Trevor

        Lorraine, it seems that they miss a very important point. Women can choose to only have sexual relations with circumcised men. Little baby boys have no option as to whether THEIR genitals are horribly and barbarically mutilated.

    • nectoxicdragon

      The study that claimed the prevention of cervical cancer was so flawed that it was thrown out and redone disproving it entirely. The initial study based the spouses of indigent uncircumcised males against the spouses of more affluent white males. The more affluent members of the study were in a less at risk class due to better health care, in a group where there was a lower incidence of HPV and syphilis and gonorrhea than the less affluent, indigent group where these diseases were common place and known to be associated with cervical cancer.

  • http://twitter.com/BULLOMETER @BULLOMETER

    In male circumcision, do they CUT OFF YOUR PENIS?
    NO, they do NOT!
    There is NO comparison between the two!
    You must be a Muslim man to have said such an evil thing!

  • http://twitter.com/BULLOMETER @BULLOMETER

    To equate male circumcision with the cutting off of a female's clitoris reveals your hatred of women!
    Does the male have his penis cut off during circumcision??
    NO, HE DOES NOT!

    • nectoxicdragon

      Stop with your ignorant rants, stick to the facts, or risk sounding like a crackpot

    • Trevor

      "Does the male have his penis cut off during circumcision??

      NO, HE DOES NOT!"

      Moot, your point, yea, it's moot. It would of course be relevant if the Women had their Vagina removed, but in this topic, they don't.

      MOOT!!

  • Vicky Bennett

    Trust me Whateverman… circumcision is nothing compared to FM… read up on it… how many baby boys die from it? how many girls? How many boys no longer have orgasm because of it, how many girls?
    Big huge difference…………………………..
    Circumcism is biblical, female circumcism is barbaric from the pitt of hell.

  • lovinight

    Circumcision is not complete removal of the penis you ASS!

  • defcon 4

    How is one like the other? Or can't you tell the difference between women and men? Maybe you've been practicing too much bacha bazi.

  • Cindy

    If you knew what they do to girls genitals, you would feel like a real moron comparing it to circumcision. They cut their clitorises off using a razor blade or a piece of glass, then the cut off their labia minoras and then sew together their labia majora's leaving only a small hole down near the rectum. The urine has to past through the tunnel that was created to get out of the small hole that was left open about the size of a dime. There is no way to clean under this and girls smell horribly, get infections and sometimes die. Not to mention that the blood during menstruation has to leave the same way. On their wedding nights the husbands can opt to either have it cut open (if he has mercy on his new wife) or he can jam his penis through and cause his wife horrible pain. Sex for these women is torture on many levels. In contrast, circumcision does not cause the man any harm whatsoever and is actually beneficial because it is cleaner and is healthier for his partner. Only an anti semite would make such a stupid comment. And I would like to add, that muslims circumcise their boys when they are 13 which is much more painful and more of a medical procedure than when a baby is only 8 days old.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    This is sickening beyond belief and should be stopped as a vile crime against humanity.
    William

  • Nicole

    I thin someone should "put you down". If you think you can compare the removal of a small piece of skin that can save the male from HIV, HPV, and many other illnesses and diseases to the systematic, destructive, and contaminating removal of a woman's body parts then you should be put out of our misery. The removal of foreskin in the US is done by doctors in a sterile setting with clean tools and much oversite. The removal of these young womens' genitalia is done in a cave or hut with a dirty razor blade by some "witch" doctor with no medical training and no thought or care for the pain these girls will suffer for the rest of their lives because it will keep them from "cheating". If they don't want their wive to cheat then they should treat them with love and respect. And I can guarantee you removing the foreskin on the male does NOT interfere with their ability to orgasm, if that were true they wouldn't "get off" in less than 5 minutes, it would take hours if it ever happened at all. Once these girls go through this awful "procedure" they have no feeling whatsoever, they don't feel sex, can't achieve orgasm, don't even know when it is that time of the month because the feeling is gone. I think you need to just go away and do a little research before you start to type again!

  • AMANDA

    This is not like a Circumcision, This is Mutilation of the Clitoris and it is done b/c the Men don't think Women Deserve any Pleasure so they Mutilate and it Causes them Pain for the Rest of their Life and it make Sex Painful, but that is What those HORRIBLE IGNORANT AND STUPID MEN THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO DO!!! THOSE MF NEED TO BE SHOT IN THE HEAD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO SO MANY GIRLS and the MOTHERS, WTF, ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN, They should have their arse kicked and Sent out of this Country for Good while the CHILD STAYS HERE!!!

    • Lizzy D.

      Amen.

    • nectoxicdragon

      STOP! The STUPID ONES are those who blame the MEN, when the mutilation is DONE BY WOMEN. This is not an issue of men thinking they have rights over women, this is about an oppressive religious belief being perpetuated over human rights and nothing more, It could be easily STOPPED if the women responsible for perpetuating it upon their daughters would just say NO MORE, instead of encouraging the abuse. EDUCATE YOURSELF TO THE FACTS BEFORE YOU RANT!

  • AMANDA

    No Ovaries means No Kids and the Human Race DIES OFF, WOW, I wonder how someone can say such things and actually believe its True, LMAO……………..and BTW, Male Circumcision isnt like These People MUTILATING a FEMALE CHILDS CLITORIS Because they believe she NEVER DESERVES THE PLEASURE That Comes From It……………Wake Up Please!

  • Pat Chandler

    A good video to learn from is Diane Lane's(actress) trip to Somalia, to raise awareness of FGM (female genital mutilation). As for mother's allowing the procedure, they say, "It is the will of Allah", and the girls are not deemed fit for marriage unless FGM has been done to them. FGM is the ancient brutal practice of female genital mutilation, which the Middle Eastern people practice, and the surgery is performed in other countries where immigrants from Somolia and Muslim countries have migrated to. Now this barbaric practice has come to America, and we need to wake up to this reality. What once was a brutal practice on young female children in foreign countries, is now an American immigrant problem.

  • Pat Chandler

    In one village Diane Lane and her interpreters visited, they interviewed a muslim woman with four children of her own to raise (without a husband). She showed 'the knife' she used on the approximately 30 FGM's she performed daily!! Her charge was 50 cents per child. She said she had no other way of making a living for her children other than prostitution, and she was no longer young or pretty. A video of the barbaric operation was shown to Lane and she was horrified, traumatized, and tearful. This practice has been done on the young girls for at least 1425 years, when Mohammad, (the false prophet) gave instructions to his men. I have read that it will take at least 2 decades to totally eradicate the horrific practice, but feminists and others are now aware of it and are trying to have the practice stopped (Gloria Steinham, Hillary Clinton,etc). What took 1425 years to develop in a culture, will take more than 2 decades to outlaw, imho. At 1.2 billion muslims migrating the globe, I don't see this happening soon, sad to say.

  • Anna

    THIS IS A CULTURAL THING IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM, THE QURAN DOES NOT ASK OF YOU TO DO THIS TO FEMALES OR MALES FOR THAT MATTER.

    If I remember correctly its forbidden to even be done to females, as for the males it's highly recommended.

    • erg

      Nevertheless, it is primarily muslims that perform this atrocity..get real!

      • Lizzy D.

        Exactly so erg. To deny that fact would be like the p.c. stupidity when AIDS was blowing up – instead of treating it as a medical epidemic among an identifiable population at first people hemmed and hawed and no one dared say out loud that it was primarily among the gay communities or if one dared say it you were in big trouble and a homophobe. Rubella!! We have an national outbreak of Rubella but don't you dare point out it is primarily among elementary age kids you'll stigmatize them for life and don't stop behaviors that will infect others that is against their civil rights.

        • nectoxicdragon

          Political Correctness does nothing but destroys common sense

          • nectoxicdragon

            ANNA, IT IS part of the Quran. it is demanded that the female surrenders her pleasure (forsakes) and all that matters is the males. The Quran even teaches men how to take sexual pleasure from infants. YOU had better stop listening to what others tell is or is not in the Quran and look into it for yourself, bur be forewarned, it is not read like the bible is, The Quran does not build upon its teachings. It supplants them. This means that as the person reading it is indoctrinated, they first learn what is benign, and peaceful. but by the end, at the point of full indoctrination they are taught to lie, and hate, to forward the evils of Islam at any cost.

          • nectoxicdragon

            This is where you will learn the truth of the mutilation of the female, the abuse of the female, that she is less than the dirt upon the soles of the man's shoes and she is only worth the pleasure she can give the one man who owns her. This is what is really taught about women in the Quran. you need to read it yourself. Muhammad, was psychotic, and his madness deepened as he wrote the Quran, and the deeper into his psychosis he sunk, the more vile and evil his writings went. Even his proverb about the mountain not coming to him was based on his madness, as if read in context he truly did expect it to come to him, and when it didn't he had to go to it, to ascend it to preach his words of madness.