NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Culture, religion, and tradition are often cited as reasons for female genital mutilation, but there is no justification for this act of gender violence against women. Noted American human rights leader, America Matters CEO Samantha Nerove explained the present danger of FGM at a panel on women's health during Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED), a summit hosted at the United Nations on November 17, 2017. Other speakers at the event included New York Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul, six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, and Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Video of her appearance is available here.
The audience enthusiastically responded to Nerove's experiences in working with FGM survivors, medical experts, and policymakers and her advice on how to educate communities to stop FGM in the U.S. and abroad. She pointed out the need for state-level legislation in the U.S. to criminalize the practice, as well as educate and inform communities where FGM is prevalent of the grave harm it causes both physically and psychologically. Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
"In 1996, a federal law was passed that banned female genital mutilation," explained Nerove, a retired U.S. Army combat veteran. "26 states have also enacted laws to ban this practice, leaving 24 states that need to line up with federal law. State laws are required because federal law doesn't apply when the crime occurs within a single state."
An upcoming landmark FGM trial in Detroit has put a national spotlight on women's issues in the overlapping spheres of health, sexuality, and women's rights. Eight people, including the American-born doctor who performed the procedures, have been charged in the nation's first federal case involving female genital mutilation.
As a result, Nerove launched the #StopFGM campaign and coalition. The coalition is comprised of American and international members, including the Middle East Women's Leadership Network, Muslims for Progressive Values, HEART Women & Girls, Men Against FGM, and many others. The international wing includes the Maasai Warrior Cricket Team Against FGM, Sahiyo, and FGM survivors like Hibo Wardere, an author and activist in the U.K., and Reda Eldanbouki, an Egyptian lawyer leading the campaign against FGM in Egypt.
America Matters brings this global momentum to an American audience, shaping the narrative on issues central to basic human dignity. The America Matters social media platform reaches audiences of more than 20 million monthly around the world.
A recognized thought leader on a variety of women's and human rights issues, Nerove is expanding the #StopFGM campaign to build a permanent coalition to address multiple women's issues, including PTSD, mental health, child marriage, FGM, human trafficking, sexual harassment and bullying, and reproductive health advocacy in 2018.
This new initiative serves as an umbrella capable of nesting vital women's rights efforts that often require more than awareness; they also need action. Women vulnerable to, or already traumatized, by female genital mutilation require a holistic approach to wellness, including awareness and advocacy, education, outreach, and legislation; and, access to resources to restore physical, mental and emotional well-being.
About America Matters:
America Matters is a centrist not-for-profit organization that focuses on issues that matter to people, not party or politics, with a commitment to American Values, Millennial Matters, Security Matters, Service Matters, and Muslim Matters. For more information, visit http://www.americamatters.com Facebook Twitter.
SOURCE America Matters