Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Female Genital Mutilation: Seeking Answers

Fadumo Korn, activist and author of the book Born in the Big Rains: a Memoir of Struggle and Survival in Somalia
GaIDI members at Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC), Brandeis University took the opportunity to mark V-Day by calling attention to female genital mutilaion (FGM) and attempt to seek answers that plague humanity. This event titled, Female Genital Mutilation: Seeking Answers was held on February 15, 2007. It was coordinated by Rajashree Ghosh, Visiting Scholar, WSRC and other GaIDI members and supported by Shulamit Reinharz, Director WSRC. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. As a global movement (marked between Februray 1 and March 8),V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls, including rape,battery, incest,female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery. According to World Health Organization estimates, about 132 million girls have been subjected to FGM. Most live in African countries or in several practicing cultures in the Middle East and Asia. The present-day African diaspora has exported the tradition to Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Tobe Levin, President of FORWARD – Germany, an international non-governmental organization that works to advance the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of African girls and women [see http://www.forwarduk.org.uk or, in German, http://www.forward-germany.org] faciliated the event. Tobe brought with her a special guest. Her name is Fadumo Korn, the author of Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival. Having undergone circumcision at the age of seven in Somalia Fadumo has written a book that is a brutally honest, politically sensitive and a bold addition to literature on global women’s health. A half hour television documentary on Fadumo's life titled Ich war ein Nomadenkind (My childhood as a nomad), directed by Juliane Schuhler was screened. Fadumo read excerpts from her book in German and Tobe translated it in English. WSRC Scholars, students and faculty from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management participated in the discussion on FGM that ensued after the book readings. Gladys Maida from a local community organization, REACH (www.reachma.org) was also present. For some pictures please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42433998@N00/sets/72157594575251808/