LAS VEGAS, Feb. 6 – Clitoraid, an international, U.S.-based humanitarian organization that provides clitoral repair surgery for survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM), today announced its new partnership with the Gambian NGO 'Safe Hands for Girls.'
“As the world celebrates Zero Tolerance Day for FGM, we’re so very honored that Jaha Dukureh, head of Safe Hands for girls, has asked us to partner with her organization,” said Nadine Gary, director of communications for Clitoraid. “We’ll now be working together to provide medical relief for FGM survivors by offering clitoral restorative surgery in the Gambia.”
Gary said Dukureh was born in the Gambia, where she endured genital mutilation as a child. She later became a celebrated FGM activist in her country and was nominated to be its Woman of the Year in 2015.
“Two months ago, her fight against FGM led to the passing of a historical bill banning FGM in the Gambia,” Gary said. "And over the holidays, while Jaha was recovering from her own clitoral repair surgery in San Francisco, she received official papers from the Gambian government granting her the land on which to build an FGM medical center. She was told that the Gambian president had personally selected it!"
Gary said Clitoraid’s volunteers, including Clitoraid's lead surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers, who operated on Dukureh, are looking forward to the joint venture.
“This is a life-saving, life-changing humanitarian joint mission, one that is supported by the government of the Gambia, and we hope it will inspire the newly elected president of Burkina Faso to have his health minister issue the permit for Clitoraid's hospital to finally open in Bobo Dioulasso,” Gary said. “Our brand new, state-of-the-art medical facility has remained closed for 2 years while thousands of FGM survivors desperately await this life-saving, life-changing humanitarian treatment.”
Washington DC, Friday Oct 30 - Dr. Marci Bowers, Clitoraid's volunteer surgeon will be the keynote speaker at the Walk to End FGM in Washington DC, Saturday Oct 31 hosted by the Global Women P.E.A.C.E. Foundation . In the past eight year, Dr. Bowers, a renowned gender reassignment surgeon in San Francisco, CA has been surgically restoring the clitoris of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) victims both in the US and in Burkina Faso, Africa.
The Walk to End FGM has been endorsed by Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland who stated in writing: “Thank you for your efforts to raise awareness for and to help prevent this horrible trend. It is my hope that this year’s Walk to End FGM will mark a milestone in both participation and donations raised so that you may continue this crucial work for years to come.”
The Walk also received Well Wishes from a number of U.S. State Governors. Calls were received from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe and California Governor, Jerry Brown. Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jay Inslee of Washington sent letters with “best wishes for a successful event”.
Female Genital Mutilation is a heinous and atrocious practice, which is the intentional removal of either part or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. According to current statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 513,000 girls are either at risk or are living with the consequences of FGM in the U.S.
The event will be hosted by Angela Peabody, president of Global Women P.E.A.C.E. Foundation whose organization will issue Recognition Awards to eleven deserving women at this year’s walk-A-thon.
Shelby Quast, Project Director for Equality Now will be among the guest speakers as well as three brave survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM). The President of the Guinean Women Association in the U.S. along with Miss Guinea are expected to be in attendance.
This second annual Walk to End FGM will take place Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 8:00am on the National Mall in Washington, D.C at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 15th Street, NW. The proceeds from the walk-A-thon will benefit The Global Woman SUPPORT CENTERS located in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA., serving survivors and at-risk girls of female genital mutilation (FGM). Special Media passes will be issued to members of the Media on location.
Speakers and Award Recipients will be available for interviews prior to, during or following the event.
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 13 – For more than a year, a completed hospital dedicated to helping victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been sitting empty, awaiting final approval from the country’s health minister.
To no avail, according to the women languishing on its lengthy waiting list.
“The hospital is fully equipped, and it’s probably the most modern facility in the Bobo Dioulasso area,” said Nadine Gary, spokesperson for Clitoraid, the women’s rights association that financed the construction. “The health authority signed a convention with the local managing association, AVFE, back in 2006. It stated clearly that the new hospital would be dedicated to the region’s FGM victims, who need help desperately. But that same health authority now claims to have enough hospitals there already!”
Gary said the thousands of women still awaiting the long-anticipated opening of the facility emphatically disagree.
They’re about to make their displeasure known in a very visible way,” Gary said. “On Thursday, they’ll be in the streets of Bobo Dioulasso pleading for the governor to intervene. This opening has been delayed far too long.”
“Our file was in perfect order until March 2014, when a doctor started a defamation campaign against us,” explained Banemanie Traore, president of the local women’s association AVFE. “He claimed that the Raelian religion of some AVFE members is incompatible with running a hospital. But this same doctor charges $500 for the same services the new hospital would offer FGM victims for free.”
“Is this a matter of greed or of religious hatred?” Gary asked, and then went on to answer the question. “We assume it’s a combination of both factors that is tragically preventing so many women from having the free clitoral repair surgery we offer. Our hospital is ready for the operations that would remove pain endured by hundreds of thousands of women in this region. Yet the hospital remains closed no logical reason.”
It is the FGM victims who suffer most from this obstacle, Gary said.
“The overwhelming majority of FGM victims cannot afford to pay for the surgery we’re offering for free,” she declared. “That’s why we’ll continue our actions and demonstrations in Burkina Faso and abroad until the hospital is finally allowed to open.”
LAS VEGAS, May 7 – As its annual Clitoris Awareness Week (May 3-10) continues, Clitoraid, a non-profit organization in both the United Kingdom and the United States, is denouncing Britain's repeated refusal to allow clitoral repair surgery for victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the United Kingdom.
“Despite its extensive, well-publicized measures to end FGM on British soil, the British government still won’t let the surgery be performed there,” said Nadine Gary, spokesperson for Clitoraid. “We’re about to open a hospital for FGM victims in the West African country of Burkina Faso, where any woman will be able to have the procedure through Clitoraid for free. “So we’re asking the British government to immediately change its policy. Prohibiting clitoral repair surgery for FGM victims downplays the importance of the clitoris, the beautiful organ so essential to female health and dignity. And of course the clitoris provides the sense of pleasure most Western women take for granted. That capacity has been brutally taken from FGM victims.”
Gary said that in 2013, Minister Lynne Featherstone proudly announced a 35-million-pound program aimed to eradicate FGM within a generation, both in the United Kingdom and in the countries where the barbaric practice originated.
“We immediately contacted Ms. Featherstone and offered to train U.K. surgeons in the clitoral restorative procedure for FGM victims,” she said. “Our two American Clitoraid volunteer surgeons, Dr. Marci Bowers and Dr. Harold Henning, have successfully offered it in the U.S. for several years already.”
"Why would the U.K. deny women who have suffered genital mutilation the right to recover their genital integrity and sexual pleasure?” Henning asked. “It’s just outrageous. After all, a free U.K. medical service is already in place to repair their vaginal openings for reproductive purposes!”
Henning said that because the U.K.’s Royal College of Oobstetricians and Gynecologists (ROCG) vetoed the offering of the clitoral repair procedure in the U.K., Clitoraid has had to send 11 United Kingdom FGM patients thus far to Dr. Pierre Foldes in Paris. [Foldes developed the clitoral repair technique.] Three times as many have written to Clitoraid to enquire about the service.
Henning explained that Anna Soubry, the U.K.’s Public Health Minister, has stated: "The [UK] reversal procedure is quite straightforward. We use local anesthetic, make a small incision, and then sew over the edges [of the vulva], so the women are then a normal size for childbirth and making love."
"Making love: exactly what does Ms. Soubry mean by that?” Henning asked. “Does she mean facilitating penetration for the male partner of the FGM victim, thereby enhancing his pleasure while only making it less painful for his partner?"
"If Britain really wants to eliminate FGM, it needs to show that it embraces and promotes sexual pleasure and integrity for all women,” Gary said. “And it needs to adopt every measure needed to reach that goal, starting with giving FGM victims easy access to the surgical procedure that restores the clitoris."
Clitoraid is a public charity and has been granted tax exempt status (section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code). US taxpayers can deduct donations to us from their federally-taxable income. Our tax-ID# is: 20-4818106