The Global Woman Support Group will convene its fall sessions this Saturday, September 24, 2016. The meetings will be conducted by two Mental Health professionals, Dr. Willa Jones of Washington, D.C. and Sando Sherman-Adetunje of Montgomery County, Maryland. Due to privacy and respect for the participants, the group will meet at an undisclosed location two Saturdays of each month until they break for the summer in 2017.
The participants will have full access to the mental health professionals for questions and answers as well as advice during the sessions. If a woman feels more comfortable speaking with a counselor one-on-one, that will be arranged. The purpose of the support group session is to assist women who have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) to talk about their experiences. It is hopeful that the sessions will help bring the women to a place of reconciliation and help them put the past behind them and look toward a brighter future. When FGM/C is performed on the girls, it is instilled in them to never tell anyone what happened to them. Most of the girls grow up never sharing that with anyone. Dr. Amelia Kemp, a psychotherapist in Florida recently composed, recorded and released a special CD and video, Leave Me Be with the intention that the support group will use it in some of the sessions.
Here is a brief background of Dr. Willa D. Jones: She is Ph.D. licensed professional counselor and a school psychologist in the District of Columbia. A parent educator for more than twenty years, Dr. Jones is passionate about helping families pursue healthy, loving, and satisfying relationships. Many of the strategies presented during her workshops have been well received. Dr. Jones has participated on the Mayor’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force since it’s’ inception in May of 2012. As part of the task force, on July 16th, 2014, Dr. Jones was invited to provide expert technical advice, as part of a state department panel on youth and conflict, to 24 individuals from around the world. The visiting panelists worked in many different capacities with youth in at-risk or traumatic environments, with positions varying from non-government organization leaders and government officials to school counselors and academics. Dr. Jones completed her graduate training at Howard University, receiving a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from that institution in 1997. She has held memberships in the American Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, and the District of Columbia Mental Health Counselor’s Association.
Here is a brief background of Sando Sherman-Adetunji. She was born in Liberia, West Africa. She is a social worker, licensed at the graduate level in the Emergency Services Unit, which serves the Montgomery County public. Sando is currently a PhD. candidate with female genital mutilation/cutting as the topic of her thesis. She also worked with the Department of Social Services in 1988. In her current position with Montgomery County in the state of Maryland, she works with families and children to help them get rehabilitated when they have suffered losses. She also manages the homeless families and single adults. When she was only nine years old, Sando’s grandmother kidnapped her from her school campus and took her to the Sande Society Bush, where she experienced female genital mutilation/cutting. Sando is responsible for her home district in Grand Cape Mount County in Liberia becoming FGM-free.
Everything discussed in the sessions are held in the strictest confidence by all participants.