Topic

Women's Rights

660 petitions

Update posted 4 hours ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, Robert A. DeLeo, Harriette L. Chandler, Karen E. Spilka

Ban Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Massachusetts

Our names are Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher, and we each are pleading to the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass a law making it illegal for someone to carry out Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Circumcision (FGM/C) on young girls. FGM/C involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue on girls, and can cause physical harm including pain, bleeding, shock, tetanus, genital sores, and cause long-lasting psychological harm including sexual disorders, fear of sexual intimacy, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mariya - I was born in the United States and now live in Massachusetts, but at the age of seven, I was subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in India. Friends and relatives of mine also living in the United States have undergone FGM/C both here in the United States or in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Australia, and many other countries in the world. Aisha- I got my circumcision when I was five. I know many women who also got it done. Personally, I know people in my community who talk about it as if it’s normal. I was aware of people practicing it behind closed doors but I also know that some people are looking for ways to keep the practice alive here in the States even though it might mean legal action is taken against them. I didn't know my home state, Massachusetts, had no laws against FGM/C until I met Mariya who works with many communities to protect girls against FGM/C. Hanna - I literally stumbled on the subject of female genital mutilation searching for a global health research topic online for a school project. I knew nothing about it and was concerned that others would find it uncomfortable and unrelatable. My teacher told me that was all the more reason to focus on FGM/C. It’s not a cultural issue; it’s not a third-world problem. FGM/C happens all over the world; it is happening in Massachusetts! Regardless of culture and tradition, and despite a lack of intent to cause injury, the end result is girls in MA are being violated and need our protection to safeguard them from FGM/C. Massachusetts is known for its progressive policies in terms of reproductive rights, anti-discrimination laws, and equality issues, yet our state still is in the minority of states that do not ban female genital mutilation or cutting. As FGM/C is nearly always carried out on minors, is a violation of the rights of children, and reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes that constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, we must protect girls from undergoing FGM/C. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that over half a million girls and women in the United States are at risk. Massachusetts ranks 12th in the nation for at-risk populations with an estimated 14,591 women and girls.  Since 2012, the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association has over and over again tried to advocate for a state law criminalizing FGM/C. Yet, still to this day, no law has been put into place. The current bills, S.788, and H.2333, have been sent to committee for study and most likely will not move forward either. All three of us believe in the importance of education and community engagement to help create social change within communities and amongst groups where FGM/C might be happening. To that end, we each have organized and participated in community events to educate our friends and family members about the harms of FGM/C and why it should be abandoned. Yet, despite our efforts, FGM/C continues, often being touted as a religious or cultural practice that is needed to control women’s sexuality. In April 2017, a doctor in Michigan was charged with performing FGM/C on minor girls, highlighting yet again that FGM/C does affect women and girls living in the United States. The doctor claimed FGM/C was a religious requirement and that there were no harmful effects. We three believe that culture and religion should not be an excuse used to sanction harm to girls. We need a bill in Massachusetts that unequivocally reiterates that female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence. There are laws against domestic violence and sexual assault. We need a law against FGM/C as well. We three believe our state can do a better job of protecting girls in the Commonwealth by banning FGM/C. You can support us too by signing our petition demanding that legislators make passing a bill banning FGM/C high on their list of priorities. Let’s work together to take a stance against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting!  ~ Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher  

Mariya Taher
286,149 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Tripadvisor

Stop covering up sexual assaults

On a recent international trip with friends, I decided to go on an outdoor excursion. I never would have imagined that our tour guide, who came with stellar reviews on TripAdvisor, would ultimately rape me, and that TripAdvisor would do next to nothing to prevent him from doing it again. I’m just one of countless women who’ve been ignored or mistreated by TripAdvisor after reporting a sexual assault at a business on their site. In the era of #MeToo, this company is not taking violence against women seriously. My assault was deeply traumatic and probably one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. But the humiliation I was put through when I turned to TripAdvisor for help was almost worse. When I asked for help warning other tourists about my attacker, the company simply suggested I leave a review. Not only was this solution woefully inadequate to warn other tourists – my one star review would quickly get lost among minor complaints about the guide – but it required me to relive the painful details of my assault and out myself publicly in a place where my assailant could likely find me. TripAdvisor is the largest travel site in the world. Join me in demanding that it act as a leader within the industry, by taking action to protect its users and demand safety from the businesses it promotes. The company has already bent to public pressure on this issue by implementing a system to warn users about businesses with “health, safety, and discrimination issues.” But the system is proving ineffective and insufficient. Now is the moment to demand policies which actually protect customers from sexual assault and incentivize travel businesses to do the same. If enough of us speak out now, the poor publicity TripAdvisor is receiving compounded by our pressure will force the company to do something. Join us.

K. K.
240,669 supporters