Virginia to Become 25th State in the U.S. to Criminalize FGM/C

The Virginia General Assembly last Wednesday unanimously passed legislation which would criminalize the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The bill is now before Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe for his signature.  Should Governor McAuliffe sign the bill into law, Virginia will become the 25th state in the United States to have laws against practicing FGM/C.

The summary of the bill passed last Wednesday (SB 1060) reads as follows:

Female genital mutilation criminal penalty and civil action makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor, for any person to knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the labia majora, labia minora, or clitoris of a minor. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to consent to such circumcision, excision, or infibulation.  The bill also makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to knowingly remove or cause or permit the removal of such minor from the Commonwealth for the purposes of performing such circumcision, excision, or infibulation. The bill also provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by such circumcision, excision, or infibulation.  The bill also provides that any of these offenses shall be a separate and distinct offense and shall not preclude prosecution under any other statute.

A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a jail term of one year and a $2,500 fine.  When initially written by Virginia Senator, Richard H. Black, the jail term was five years and a fine of up to $1 Million.  In an exclusive interview two weeks ago with the Senator, he told Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation why certain changes had been made to the initial bill. “This year, Virginia experienced a significant budget shortfall.  As a result, the criminal sanctions were revised dramatically to prevent the bill failing for lack of appropriation.  For the time being, we were forced to lower the criminal penalty to one year.  We will revisit this during next year’s session.  However the revision was skillfully drafted so that a female mutilator can be sentenced simultaneously for FGM and for other crimes as well.  I believe FGM could be simultaneously prosecuted as the crime of aggravated malicious wounding, since the child victim suffers permanent and significant physical impairment.”  He said, “FGM is “malicious” under Virginia precedent, which says, “Malice inheres in the doing of a wrongful act intentionally, or without just cause or excuse…”  ‘It may be inferred from acts and conduct which necessarily result in injury.’”  Hernandez v. Commonwealth, 15 VA.App. 626, 631, 426 S.E.2d 137, 140 (1993) (citations omitted).  Aggravated malicious wounding is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 20 years to life in prison and fine of up to $100,000.  For that reason, the way we drafted the bill, a prosecution for FGM can be combined with malicious wounding in a way that carries extremely severe penalties up to life in prison.”

Senator Black feels that one of the most important parts of the bill is where the girl has the right to sue anyone responsible for cutting her, or who gives consent to have her cut or mutilated.  “I consider this the most important part of the bill.  Since this hideous practice takes place in culturally closed communities, it is difficult to prosecute.”  Senator Black explained.   “However, anyone complicit in mutilating a child must worry about the very real possibility that the girl may seek to avenge herself years later, once she realizes the horror inflicted on her.  Parents who have this done may end up losing everything they own once a jury hears how they maimed and destroyed their daughter’s life.  And the person performing these actions may not only face multiple criminal charges but multiple civil lawsuits that lead to bankruptcy as well.”

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), close to 31,000 girls and women in Virginia are either at risk of undergoing FGM/C or have already experienced it.  Senator Black said that it is not his objective to simply pass the bill; instead he wants it to attack the cultural support for the practice.

If you are a resident of Virginia, and know of anyone with intentions of having his or her daughter experience FGM/C, you should share this story with them.  Urge them against it, and this is a good way to help end the practice of FGM/C in the U.S.

If you have any questions or comments about this story, please contact and put the title of this story in the subject line.  We appreciate your feedback.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2017 Calendar


  • Support/Focus Group Meeting – Saturday, March 4th
  • International Women’s Day / IWPG Ban FGM Garden – March 8th
  • “The Best Defense is a Good Offense” A Walk for HIV Prevention – March 10th
  • 25th Annual Children’s Justice Conference – April 11th through 12th
  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – April 13th through 21st
  • 11th Annual Dr. Julianne Malveaux Women’s History Luncheon/Awards – April 23rd
  • Walk To End FGM registration begins – May
  • Vacances San Excision (Summer without Cutting) Camp – August
  • Walk To End FGM on October 21st
  • Giving Tuesday – November 28th

We will update this calendar as the year progresses.  Please mark your calendars, as we work toward a prosperous 2017.

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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

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







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

TINOVACA TUTICGN                                                       VACATION CUTTING

HOODOREBIHGN                                                             NEIGHBORHOOD

DENAS SUBH                                                                      SANDE BUSH

DIBOB TECIOSY                                                                 BONDE SOCIETY

ANIRY SONSEA                                                                  RAINY SEASON


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

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The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group will resume sessions on Saturday, March 4th.  We invite you to join us at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 at 12:00pm.  Our Counselor on site is Willa Jones, and Amie Jallah is now in charge of the support group.  For one-on-one meetings, contact us for appointments at or call 703-818-3787.

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/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C 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/C 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/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.