#EndFGMToday Advocate and Survivor Speaks Throughout Native Mali on Barbaric Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
Washington, D.C.—Khatija “Kadi” Doumbia is one of the millions of survivors around the world who endured the physical and emotional scars of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The Mali native, who left her country at the age of 18 and has been in the U.S. for 25 years, visited her birthplace to speak about these scars that really never go away.
The national #EndFGMToday initiative, led by international child advocate and attorney Elizabeth Yore, has worked closely with Kadi as she bravely tells her story and as she has testified in front of several state legislatures.
“When lawmakers hear from an actual victim and survivor of female genital mutilation, the horrors of this practice become very real,” Yore said. “We applaud this brave woman, who is working to make sure that other little girls do not endure the same trauma she did.”
Kadi visited Mali in late December and into January, where she was part of FGM education efforts and even revisited the location where her cutting occurred 55 years ago.
“Be proud of your heritage while excluding the nonsense of FGM,” she declared on Twitter.
View Kadi’s bio and hear her story here, which includes remarks such as the following:
“I went through female genital mutilation when I was a child, I must have been less than 5 years old when I was cut. I have no recollections of the actual cutting. God only knows what happened because I do not even remember the physical pain that I must have gone through while I was being cut; I am thinking that I must have fainted. Though, I do remember vividly some of the events that took place around it, such as the healing process. I do also remember my mother caring for me and being in charge of my personal hygiene. I have been trying to find a reason why girls have to undergo female genital mutilation, but unfortunately, I have not yet found any valid reasons; perhaps there is no reason at all other than myths and ignorance.”
EndFGMToday has pointed to several countries that, according to UNICEF, have the highest prevalence of FGM, and are also ranked on the 2019 World Watch List for Christian persecution. Among them is Mali—No. 6 for FGM, where 89 percent of girls are cut, and No. 24 on the World Watch List.
Here in the U.S., 22 states do not have legal protections in place for women and girls who are at risk for FGM. State laws are even more crucial now, Yore said, as the federal law criminalizing female genital mutilation was ruled unconstitutional by a district judge in late 2018.
Yore also noted that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a half million girls and woman in the U.S. are at risk for female genital mutilation. FGM is also recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women, and over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM.