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Members of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts and the Executive Director of the Somali Development Center celebrate the creation of FGM Awareness Week

In Massachusetts, nearly 15,000 girls and women are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). However, even though Massachusetts has some of the highest rates of FGM in the country and federal policies recognize it as a grave human rights violation and a form of violence against girls and women, the state does not have a law against FGM.  

If you live in Massachusetts, you can help change that.

Take Action Now!

Join the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts  and Equality Now in calling for passage of the Massachusetts Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation introduced by Representative Sarah Peake (HD1530) and Senator William Brownsberger (SD307) in January 2015.

Female genital mutilation, performed around the world most often on girls under the age of 15, is the cutting or removal of external genitalia for non-medical reasons. Frequently rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood and a prerequisite to marriage, in reality it is an extreme form of violence against girls and women that can have detrimental lifelong health consequences. Victims of FGM can suffer from chronic infections; severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse and childbirth; infertility; psychological trauma; and in some cases, even death. In the U.S. a 2015 report estimates that up to 507,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk of FGM, which is more than double the estimate from the previous 2000 study. These women and girls may have been subjected to FGM prior to arriving in the U.S., or could be in serious danger of being subjected to FGM during school vacations, in their families’ countries of origin or here in the U.S. - a practice known as “vacation cutting.” 

Federal law prohibits performing FGM in the U.S. or taking a child outside the country to perform it; 24 U.S. states have laws against it. Massachusetts is not one of them. The state ranks twelfth among states with high rates of FGM, and Boston, Newton and Cambridge are among the country’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of at risk girls and women. 

Take Action! Coupled with education among community members and health professionals, this law is a critical tool for preventing the harmful practice, and for raising awareness about an issue which is often shrouded in silence in the U.S. If passed, this Act will help ensure girls and women at risk of undergoing the practice will be protected, and that those living with the consequences of FGM can access support services, and can press for damages or other relief. 

The Act provides that:

  • FGM, including vacation cutting, is illegal;
  • Child victims of FGM or children at risk of FGM receive the same services as victims of other forms of child abuse; and
  • The Massachusetts commissioner of public health develop and administer an education, prevention and outreach program about FGM and the law against it

 

What you Can Do

The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts and Equality Now are working to protect at risk girls and women and to ensure that much-needed services are provided for those who have been subjected to FGM. Please join us by calling on your representative and senator to support the Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation!

  • The Massachusetts legislature’s Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on this bill in September. Write to your district’s representative and senator, as well as the key legislators listed below, and urge them to pass the House Bill (HD 1530) and the Senate Bill (SD307). Click here to find your representative or senator.
  • Learn more about FGM in the United States and whether your state has a law against FGM.

 

Take Action Now!

Letters should go to your district’s representative and senator as well as:

The Honorable Robert A. DeLeo
Speaker of the House
State House Room 356
Boston, MA 01233
Fax: 617-722-2008
Email: Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/House-Speaker-Robert-A-DeLeo-401891743246684
Twitter: @SpeakerDeLeo

The Honorable Ronald Mariano 
House Majority Leader
State House Room 343
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2750
Email: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @RonMariano

The Honorable Bradley Jones
House Minority Leader
State House Room 124
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2390
Email: Bradley.Jones@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @RepBradJones

The Honorable Garrett J. Bradley
Second Assistant Majority Leader 
State House Room 479
Boston, MA 02133
Email: Garrett.Bradley@mahouse.gov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Rep-Garrett-Bradley/84944874343
Twitter: @RepBradley

The Honorable Paul J. Donato
Second Assistant Majority Leader 
State House Room 481
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2347
Email: Paul.Donato@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @repdonato

Country: 
All letters: 
250
Sent letters: 
119
Categories new : 
Hero Title: 
Protect Girls and Women in Massachusetts from FGM
Hero image: 
Letter Body: 

Dear Senator/Representative…, 

I urge you to stand up for girls and women in your state and support the Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation, introduced by Representative Sarah Peake (HD1530) and by Senator William Brownsberger (SD307) in January 2015. U.S. policies recognize female genital mutilation (FGM) as a human rights violation and extreme form of violence against girls and women. Therefore, criminalizing FGM is critical for preventing the practice, for raising awareness about an issue which is often shrouded in silence in the U.S., and in ensuring survivors have access to justice. 

FGM—the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons—violates girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity, and freedom from discrimination and torture. According to a 2015 Population Reference Bureau study, approximately 513,000 girls and women in the U.S. have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to FGM. Of those, an estimated 14,951 live in Massachusetts, with Boston, Newton and Cambridge among the country’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of at-risk girls and women. 

Federal law prohibits performing FGM in the U.S. or taking a child outside the country to perform it, and 24 U.S. states have laws against it. Massachusetts is not one of them. Please pass this vital legislation to bring Massachusetts law in line with federal law, and ensure that the bill criminalizes FGM and vacation cutting, as well as provides civil remedies and protections for girls at risk or affected by FGM. A law banning FGM will send a strong message both here and abroad that Massachusetts is committed to protecting human rights and preventing violence against girls.

Yours sincerely, 

Salsa Id: 
21264
Action Date: 
Friday, January 2, 2015
Letters Sent (Auto): 
130
All Letters Sent (Auto): 
130

IMPORTANT: This archived action campaign has been completed or discontinued, and the information contained in it may not be current. Please see Take Action for current and ongoing campaigns.

Members of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts and the Executive Director of the Somali Development Center celebrate the creation of FGM Awareness Week

In Massachusetts, nearly 15,000 girls and women are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). However, even though Massachusetts has some of the highest rates of FGM in the country and federal policies recognize it as a grave human rights violation and a form of violence against girls and women, the state does not have a law against FGM.  

If you live in Massachusetts, you can help change that.

Take Action Now!

Join the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts  and Equality Now in calling for passage of the Massachusetts Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation introduced by Representative Sarah Peake (HD1530) and Senator William Brownsberger (SD307) in January 2015.

Female genital mutilation, performed around the world most often on girls under the age of 15, is the cutting or removal of external genitalia for non-medical reasons. Frequently rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood and a prerequisite to marriage, in reality it is an extreme form of violence against girls and women that can have detrimental lifelong health consequences. Victims of FGM can suffer from chronic infections; severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse and childbirth; infertility; psychological trauma; and in some cases, even death. In the U.S. a 2015 report estimates that up to 507,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk of FGM, which is more than double the estimate from the previous 2000 study. These women and girls may have been subjected to FGM prior to arriving in the U.S., or could be in serious danger of being subjected to FGM during school vacations, in their families’ countries of origin or here in the U.S. - a practice known as “vacation cutting.” 

Federal law prohibits performing FGM in the U.S. or taking a child outside the country to perform it; 24 U.S. states have laws against it. Massachusetts is not one of them. The state ranks twelfth among states with high rates of FGM, and Boston, Newton and Cambridge are among the country’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of at risk girls and women. 

Take Action! Coupled with education among community members and health professionals, this law is a critical tool for preventing the harmful practice, and for raising awareness about an issue which is often shrouded in silence in the U.S. If passed, this Act will help ensure girls and women at risk of undergoing the practice will be protected, and that those living with the consequences of FGM can access support services, and can press for damages or other relief. 

The Act provides that:

  • FGM, including vacation cutting, is illegal;
  • Child victims of FGM or children at risk of FGM receive the same services as victims of other forms of child abuse; and
  • The Massachusetts commissioner of public health develop and administer an education, prevention and outreach program about FGM and the law against it

 

What you Can Do

The Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts and Equality Now are working to protect at risk girls and women and to ensure that much-needed services are provided for those who have been subjected to FGM. Please join us by calling on your representative and senator to support the Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation!

  • The Massachusetts legislature’s Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on this bill in September. Write to your district’s representative and senator, as well as the key legislators listed below, and urge them to pass the House Bill (HD 1530) and the Senate Bill (SD307). Click here to find your representative or senator.
  • Learn more about FGM in the United States and whether your state has a law against FGM.

 

Take Action Now!

Letters should go to your district’s representative and senator as well as:

The Honorable Robert A. DeLeo
Speaker of the House
State House Room 356
Boston, MA 01233
Fax: 617-722-2008
Email: Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/House-Speaker-Robert-A-DeLeo-401891743246684
Twitter: @SpeakerDeLeo

The Honorable Ronald Mariano 
House Majority Leader
State House Room 343
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2750
Email: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @RonMariano

The Honorable Bradley Jones
House Minority Leader
State House Room 124
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2390
Email: Bradley.Jones@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @RepBradJones

The Honorable Garrett J. Bradley
Second Assistant Majority Leader 
State House Room 479
Boston, MA 02133
Email: Garrett.Bradley@mahouse.gov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Rep-Garrett-Bradley/84944874343
Twitter: @RepBradley

The Honorable Paul J. Donato
Second Assistant Majority Leader 
State House Room 481
Boston, MA 02133
Fax: 617-722-2347
Email: Paul.Donato@mahouse.gov
Twitter: @repdonato

Dear Senator/Representative…, 

I urge you to stand up for girls and women in your state and support the Act Establishing Civil and Criminal Penalties for Female Genital Mutilation, introduced by Representative Sarah Peake (HD1530) and by Senator William Brownsberger (SD307) in January 2015. U.S. policies recognize female genital mutilation (FGM) as a human rights violation and extreme form of violence against girls and women. Therefore, criminalizing FGM is critical for preventing the practice, for raising awareness about an issue which is often shrouded in silence in the U.S., and in ensuring survivors have access to justice. 

FGM—the cutting or removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons—violates girls’ and women’s rights to equality, life, security, dignity, and freedom from discrimination and torture. According to a 2015 Population Reference Bureau study, approximately 513,000 girls and women in the U.S. have undergone or are at risk of being subjected to FGM. Of those, an estimated 14,951 live in Massachusetts, with Boston, Newton and Cambridge among the country’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of at-risk girls and women. 

Federal law prohibits performing FGM in the U.S. or taking a child outside the country to perform it, and 24 U.S. states have laws against it. Massachusetts is not one of them. Please pass this vital legislation to bring Massachusetts law in line with federal law, and ensure that the bill criminalizes FGM and vacation cutting, as well as provides civil remedies and protections for girls at risk or affected by FGM. A law banning FGM will send a strong message both here and abroad that Massachusetts is committed to protecting human rights and preventing violence against girls.

Yours sincerely,