Prevention & Response: How to Protect Washington’s Children & Support Survivors & Communities Impacted by Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.


May 8, 2024    
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Virtual Briefing Description:

If you missed our in-person meeting on April 23rd, join us on Wednesday, May 8th to learn more about how Washington State plans to address the issue of female genital mutilation/cutting following the passage of State Senate Bill 5453– An Act Relative to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in April 2023. A virtual webinar briefing hosted by the Washington Department of Health, Mother Africa, Sahiyo U.S., and the U.S. End FGM/C Network. 

Though FGM/C often remains a hidden practice, it is a human rights violation that is a reality for many women and girls across different communities in Washington State. Silence is an inherent part of this type of gender-based violence (GBV) that can lead to lifelong physical and emotional health consequences. At the core of providing better prevention, protection, health, and social support services for those impacted by FGM/C is a need for stronger data, enhanced research, education and outreach, and community engagement. 

This informational briefing will touch on how Washington State plans to strategize building a multi-sectorial, holistic pathway toward addressing FGM/C that encompasses a wide network of stakeholders in healthcare, government, nonprofit, and community-based organizations, and community members impacted by FGM/C, including survivors. 

About the Virtual Briefing Organizers:

Mother Africa’s mission is to support African women, immigrants, and refugees and their families to reach their highest potential. At Mother Africa, we envision a society where immigrant and refugee African and Middle Eastern women have both a seat and a voice at the decision-making tables. We know that these women have unique and powerful potentials, and can be more than just the recipients of services. Rather, they can effectively contribute to their community’s success while improving their own narratives and status quo. 

Sahiyo U.S. is an award-winning organization, formed in 2015 as an advocacy collective of South Asian survivors of FGC to address the lack of acknowledgment of FGC as a form of gender-based violence and child abuse impacting U.S. girls. ‘Sahiyo’ is the Bohra Gujarati word for female friend and reflects a mission to empower Asian and other communities to end FGC and create positive social change through dialogue, education, and collaboration based on community involvement. Sahiyo has been at the forefront of the movement to end FGC work in the United States, and has received international recognition for its community-based approach to addressing FGC in 2018, Sahiyo was recognized by the Population Reference Bureau as one of six inspiring organizations working to end FGC. 

The U.S. End FGM/C Network (the U.S. Network) is a collaborative group of survivors, civil society organizations, foundations, activists, policymakers, researchers, healthcare providers, and others committed to promoting the abandonment of FGC in the U.S. and around the world. The U.S. Network’s mission is to eliminate FGC by connecting, supporting, elevating, and advocating on behalf of and with diverse U.S. stakeholders engaged in prevention, education, and care. The U.S. Network functions as a platform that facilitates collaboration and information sharing, empower grassroots organizations and supports survivors, builds bridges between U.S.-based and international efforts to end FGC, influences policies and laws on FGC, and leads both national and global efforts to frame the issue of FGC in a broad and intersectional manner. The U.S. Network serves as the main source of information and the lead advocacy voice in the United States on ending this harmful practice in the U.S.

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) works with others to protect and improve the health of all people in Washington. The FGM/C project related to State Senate Bill 5453 is being facilitated by the Injury and Violence Prevention (IVP) Section at DOH. The IVP Section works with many partners across Washington State to build capacity to prevent injuries and violence. These collaborations include efforts such as identifying and focusing on communities most affected by injury and violence to address health inequities, supporting community programs that directly address injury and violence prevention, using and sharing key data to inform prevention strategies, and supporting evidence-informed policies and best practices. Find more information about IVP here.