State Lawmakers Considering FGM Legislation Hear a Survivor’s Story
Kadi from Mali Testifies: ‘I Have Been Trying to Find a Reason Why Girls Have to Undergo Female Genital Mutilation, but Unfortunately, I Have Not Yet Found Any’
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).
Now, the Mali native, who left her country at the age of 18 and has been in the U.S. for 24 years, is sharing her story with lawmakers in states that are considering anti-FGM legislation to criminalize this barbaric practice.
The national #EndFGMToday initiative, led by international child advocate and attorney Elizabeth Yore, has been working closely with Kadi. The survivor provided a written statement to the Illinois House Judiciary Committee and testified in person in front of New Hampshire and Connecticut legislative committees. Other testimonies are planned for the future.
“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.”
After Kadi’s testimony, the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate overwhelmingly passed HB 1739, which is expected to be sent to the governor soon. The measure will criminalize a parent or guardian who allows FGM to be performed on a female minor. In Illinois, advocates are working to extend the statute of limitations for FGM charges. Connecticut is also considering anti-FGM legislation.
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.”
Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Twenty-six states and the federal government have criminalized FGM.
Learn more about FGM on social media at #EndFGMToday, as well as efforts in the U.S. to stop it.