Ban FGM from happening in Kentucky

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I am writing to encourage Kentucky state legislators to pass a law banning Female  Genital Mutilation/cutting/circumcision (FGM/C)  in the state of Kentucky, as well as provide the resources needed to educate communities on this practice and assist victims that service providers  may encounter.

FGM/C  is often seen in the United States as a problem that doesn't happen here. This practice occurs all over the world and is happening right here on American soil.  Statistics state that over 500,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States, and this is just an estimate. Due to the silence that surrounds FGM the number of victims could be much greater because it is something many victims are told not to discuss. FGM is a human rights violation, it is a practice that leaves victims with lifelong consequences and causes multiple physical complications. Initially a victim can suffer from shock, infection, blood loss and sometimes death. Most survivors suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, difficulty in childbirth, infertility, chronic pain, painful menstruation, painful intercourse and genital sores, many physical complications that a survivor must suffer with in silence. Women and girls are not just impacted in a physical way,  many suffer from the emotional impact that this trauma can cause. Since FGM is regularly done in a non-sterile environment without any form of pain control, it is often one of the most traumatic events they will ever experience in their lives. Women and girls are left dealing with anxiety, depression, frequent nightmares and flashbacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder. All these complications are worsened by the fact that communities are unaware of what FGM/C is and are not educated on how to help someone that has endured FGM/C, which forces survivors to suffer in silence.

Right now, a federal law that bans the practice of FGM in the United States is in jeopardy. The first federal trial regarding the crime of FGM/C took place in Detroit and was dismissed by the presiding district court judge. In his ruling, the judge stated that FGM is a crime that should be handled at the state level. For girls at risk of this practice, this decision has put them in great jeopardy. Those who believe in the practice of FGM/C are empowered to think that if the federal law is not upheld, then the practice must not be wrong. Also like Kentucky, there are many states that have no laws regarding FGM/C. Kentucky is at risk of being a destination state where perpetrators can transport a girl to for FGM since there is no law in place that criminalizes the practice. I want no girl in the United States to undergo FGM/C or ever have to live with the consequences of this practice. Every state need to have a law. Please join me in the fight to pass a law in Kentucky that criminalizes FGM.

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