FGM Education Bill Is Successful In Virginia General Assembly

Last month, a Bill was introduced to the Virginia Senate by one of its senators, Richard Black.  The purpose of the bill, Senate Bill 1159 is to have the already existing Family Life Education curriculum amended to include female genital mutilation (FGM).  SB1159 was pre-filed on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 and offered a week later on January 9th.  It proposed an amendment to the § 22.1-207.1:1 of the Code of Virginia relating to public schools, family life education and female genital mutilation.  SB1159 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Education.  The Sub-Committee voted on and unanimously passed SB1159 in mid-January.  Then the Bill found its way to the full Senate Committee, where it again passed unanimously.  GWPF was present and watched with anxiety, as the Bill soaked up all ‘yeas’ and no ‘nays’ on the Senate floor.  The Bill moved over to the Virginia General Assembly for votes.  On Wednesday, January 30th GWPF did not attend the hearing, but everyone waited eagerly for the results.  At 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time, the Virginia General Assembly generously voted to have the Family Life Education Curriculum amended for FGM to be included in all Middle and High Schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The initial Bill had included elementary schools but the General Assembly voted for elementary students to not be required to study female genital mutilation.

The reaction from a Board Member of GWPF is, “We will take middle and high schools for now.  It is a great start to the school children learning about such heinous practice.”  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation has been advocating for several years to have FGM included in the schools’ curriculum.  In 2014, they made a trip to Richmond and addressed the Virginia Board of Education on FGM, with no concrete results.  They had not given up but they continued to hit a brick wall each time they had attempted to engage the Virginia Education Department.  GWPF had expressed their failed attempts to engage the Department of Education to Senator Black more than a year ago.  He had not made any promises at the time, but he obviously did not forget.

With SB1159 headed to the Virginia Governor’s desk for signature, it is hopeful that the Bill will be signed into law this July.  GWPF and its supporters and partners applaud the action of Senator Black and his colleagues in both the Senate and General Assembly for putting forth and passing this crucial Bill.  Global Woman Newsletter had stated in an earlier edition that Virginia would become the very first state in the U.S. to include FGM in its curriculum.  However someone pointed out that New Jersey schools already include FGM in their curriculum.  Global Woman Newsletter has contacted the New Jersey Department of Education to verify that, but GWN has not been successful in confirming it with the New Jersey Department of Education at the time this article was finalized.  GWN will share with its readers once it obtains confirmation from the New Jersey Department of Education.         

The amended Virginia Education Bill summarizes that any family life education curriculum offered in any middle school, or high school should incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation, associated criminal penalties, and the rights of the victim including any civil action.

Here are the details of SB1159:

A. Any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division shall require the Standards of Learning objectives related to dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relationships to be taught at least once in middle school and at least twice in high school, as described in the Board of Education’s family life education guidelines.

B. Any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division shall incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, including sexual harassment using electronic means, and sexual violence and may incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent. Such age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of sexual violence may include instruction that increases student awareness of the fact that consent is required before sexual activity.

C. Any family life education curriculum offered in any middle school, or high school shall incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on (i) the importance of the personal privacy and personal boundaries of other individuals and tools for a student to use to ensure that he respects the personal privacy and personal boundaries of other individuals and (ii) the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation; associated criminal penalties; and the rights of the victim, including any civil action pursuant to § 8.01-42.5.

D. Any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division may incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention, recognition, and awareness of child abduction, child abuse, child sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse.

It is hopeful that other states in the U.S. will follow this example from the Commonwealth of Virginia to include FGM in their Family Life Education.  Educating all children about FGM and the possible imminence of it among them is one of the crucial means of prevention.

Comments and questions to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org or call (703) 818-3787

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Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2019 Calendar


  • Arlington Police receives FGM Training Presentation – Tuesday, March 5th
  • International Women’s Day – Friday, 8th
  • United Nations CSW63 – March 11th – 22nd
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, March 16th
  • GWPF 1st Quarter Board Meeting – Saturday, March 30th
  • Women’s History Jazz Program – Saturday, April 6th
  • FGM Presentation to Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) – Sunday, April 14th
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, April 20th
  • First Shipment of Feminine Pads to Sierra Leone – May
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, May 18th
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, June 15th
  • GWPF 2nd Quarter Board Meeting – Saturday, June 29th
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, July 20th
  • Support Group / Vacances Sans Excision Camp – Saturday, August 17th
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, September 14th
  • GWPF 3rd Quarter Board Meeting – Saturday, September 28th
  • Global Woman Awards – Friday, October 18th
  • Walk To End FGM – Saturday, October 19th
  • Thanksgiving Feast / Support Group – Saturday, November 16th
  • GWPF Year-End Board Meeting – Saturday, December 7th

We will update this 2019 calendar as schedules come in

This section is for special announcements.  If you have an announcement you would like to run in this section, please follow these guidelines.

The education toolkit – Now Available and downloadable at https://www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org/prevention-school-resource-fgm-toolkit/

The guidelines to submit an announcement to appear in this newsletter:

  • The length of announcement must be no more than a paragraph of 6 lines.
  • Your announcement is free of any charges.
  • Your announcement should be something that pertains to women, girls or students, such as events, walk-a-thons, conferences, etc.
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Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation reserves the right to deny a submission if it is not within our guidelines.

Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to info@globalwomanpeacefoundation.org.

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words






Last Week’s Scrambled Words                                  Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

SREGANEET                                                               TEENAGERS

SREHTOM                                                                   MOTHERS

EIHPOS                                                                         SOPHIE

XAFRIAF YTNUOC                                                    FAIRFAX COUNTY

TENAJ B.                                                                      JANET B.

We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

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Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                           410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police            202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program            703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness               703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.