Minneapolis Vote to Defund Police Could Expose Young Black Female Population to Violence
#EndFGMToday: Protection, Justice for Overlooked Victims of Female Genital Mutilation Matter in the Somali-Concentrated City
July 20, 2020
Washington, D.C.—As the Minneapolis City Council advances its plan to defund the police following race-related violence and riots, opponents of female genital mutilation (FGM) are wondering whether the city will protect its Somali population from the brutal practice.
Minneapolis has the highest population of Somalis outside of Somalia. Somalis contribute the largest percentage of FGM offenses in the world, with practitioners victimizing 98% of the young girls in Somalia.
The Minneapolis City Council’s vote to reorganize the police department and cut funding could limit the ability of law enforcement officers to protect young girls and women from FGM.
“The city leaders who rushed to dismantle the police because of race-related violence now risk leaving a significant portion of its black female community vulnerable to the reprehensible crime of female genital mutilation,” said Elizabeth Yore, leader of #EndFGMToday. “Leaders across America should remember that the lives of its black girls and women who are forced to undergo FGM matter, too.”
Somalia itself has a national law banning the brutal practice of FGM, but it is poorly enforced, and more Somali women and girls have fallen victim to FGM during coronavirus lockdowns. Minneapolis women and girls could face the same future if the new safety system fails to severely penalize parents and practitioners who support FGM.
Although Minnesota is one of 38 states with laws against FGM, police in Minneapolis could soon lack the resources to punish FGM perpetrators. #EndFGMToday advocates for the legislation and enforcement of laws protecting young girls around the world.
According to the World Health Organization, FGM is considered “an extreme form of discrimination against women” and “a violation of the human rights of girls.” Yet FGM still occurs in many countries, including the United States. Some states do not even have laws criminalizing the gender-based act of violence.
FGM has impacted over 200 million girls around the world in more than 30 countries primarily in Africa, as well as in the Middle East and Asia. Without federal legislation, each state must pass its own legislation to protect the 513,000 girls and women in The Centers for Disease Control’s estimate of at risk females in the United States.