To the editor:
There is an ongoing battle in the North Carolina legislature over whether to criminalize female genital mutilation (FGM). Why a battle? The mutilation of little girls’ genitals defies all standards of humanity and cries out as a hideous violation of human rights according to the United Nations and World Health Organization. The CDC estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk of FGM in the U.S.!
The eyes of the nation are on the North Carolina legislature, which has been reluctant to protect girls from this criminal assault, even though North Carolina has been identified by the federal government as one of the top high-risk states for female genital mutilation.
The Population Reference Bureau ranks North Carolina as 16th in the country for women and girls at risk for FGM. Furthermore, the PRB found that the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan areas in North Carolina rank 23rd in the nation for FGM risk. That data translates into real children at perilous risk to the trauma and damage of female genital mutilation.
The North Carolina state slogan is “A Better Place to Be.” And yet the North Carolina legislature dithers, deaf to the cries of little girls that must undergo this painful and barbaric procedure whose effects last a lifetime.
As several other states pass legislation to ban FGM after a federal law was ruled unconstitutional, North Carolina runs the risk of becoming a safe harbor for mutilators of little girls.
Is this really North Carolina, a “better place to be?”
International Child Legal Counsel
Head of #EndFGMToday