Virginia’s Arlington County Detectives Learn about FGM

Last Tuesday, March 5th Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) continued its law enforcement training by educating the Arlington County Police in Northern Virginia.  GWPF began its education in female genital mutilation (FGM) more than a year ago, when they launched their law enforcement training with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department in February 2018. 

Fairfax County in the Commonwealth of Virginia was the second recipient of this special training GWPF had compiled.  The purpose of this program, Kids Reach Shield was created to educate law enforcement in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area about the practice of FGM and its consequences.  Additionally, it provides officers with resources to support FGM victims and at-risk girls through the stages of prevention, protection and prosecution. 

The idea of training law enforcement in female genital mutilation came to GWPF when they heard about an incident in Springfield, Virginia in the spring of 2017.  You probably have heard this story before now, but it is the origin of the Kids Reach Shield training program.  Following one of GWPF’s FGM presentations in 2017 at a church in Fairfax, one of the attendees approached Angela Peabody of GWPF.  She said, “It is happening right here in Springfield, Virginia.”  Peabody was astonished to hear the attendee’s claim.  The attendee explained that one evening as she and her daughter stood before their Springfield townhome, they witnessed a young girl running down their street.  The girl shouted, “My father wants to cut off my private parts” as she ran.  The presentation attendee said she immediately understood what the girl meant because she had previously attended another presentation on FGM which GWPF had given in 2014.  What was even more shocking was that the father raced after the girl with a large knife in his hand.  She and her daughter shielded the girl from the father, who was determined to get to his daughter.  He told them to get out of his way because it was their culture, and he had the right to cut off his daughter’s genitals because they practice it in his country of origin.  They called the police but when the police arrived, they had never heard of female genital mutilation.  The attendee proceeded to educate the police about FGM.  Of course, the father was arrested and taken away.  When Peabody shared that story with the GWPF’s Board of Directors they decided to help by implementing a program to inform and educate law enforcement on FGM.

Last Tuesday’s training was the result of a successful Kids Reach Shield program in 2018, the first year of their training.  More than a year ago GWPF engaged their two interns from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University to help research and compile a special training manual, exclusively for law enforcement.  The interns did an excellent job with the assignment, and the result exemplified it.  GWPF and the interns decided to write each county in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and invite them to participate in the Kids Reach Shield training program.  The first three counties to respond to the request for introduction and training were Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in Northern Virginia, and Montgomery County in Maryland.  Fatu Drame, a graduate student conducted extensive research, as she searched for an appropriate model for training law enforcement on FGM.  When she was unable to find an actual model in the U.S., Drame expanded her research to the College of Policing in the U.K. to gather relevant information.  The actual research took approximately three months, and the writing and compilation took another 2.5 months to complete the twenty-page manual.  While Drame and her fellow intern, Christine Hedstrom selected images and graphs for the manual, the manuscript was being fact checked and edited.  The finished product, Kids Reach Shield Program: A Law Enforcement Female Genital Mutilation Training Manual was then approved by the Board of Directors of GWPF, and sent to the printer for publication. 

The manual provides an introduction of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, and an overview of FGM.  It includes detailed information on cultural aspects, proper language, types, consequences, perpetrators, terminology, interviews, federal and state laws, protection, prevention, prosecution, and answers to the whys, hows, whats, whens, etc.  There is also a reference section in the manual. 

It is pertinent that law enforcement officers have knowledge about FGM in order for officers to identify the risk factors, to identify occurrences, to confirm their suspicions, and to determine when to take action.  Through sound and effective procedures, police officers can take action to safeguard potential victims, investigate offenses, and bring justice to perpetrators.  By emphasizing the importance of immediate assistance to the victim and encouraging the use of proper procedures to respectfully investigate, GWPF’s training manual provides guidance to the various roles police officers can perform to encourage the cessation of FGM.

The visit to Arlington County, Virginia last Tuesday was quite different from the previous counties in 2018.  There were only approximately seven detectives in the training room.  The program began with the newest Board Member of GWPF, F.A. Cole who is also a survivor of FGM.  F.A. shared her personal story, while including humor to help loosen the tension in the room.  She shared a photo of where her excision actually took place in the mid-eighties.  The discussion of FGM brings a serious aura to the room therefore Cole has a brilliant way of getting her audience to relax.  Angela Peabody remarked how Cole was a tough act to follow, but she proceeded with her presentation, sharing an occasional actual story or scenario.  While Peabody covered the cultural traditions, health risks, myths, religion, and the origin and history of FGM, a representative from an agency of the Department of Justice lectured on both the federal and state laws in the United States against the practice of FGM.  The presentation was designed to be synchronized with the contents of the manual with references to where in the manual the detectives could find information.  Copies of the manual were presented to Lt. Pilco for his Major Crimes Unit Squad.  At the end of the class, GWPF handed out evaluation forms to the detectives for their feedback.  GWPF reviews the feedback following each of the trainings, in order to determine how and where they can improve the Kids Reach Shield training.  The Arlington County Detectives provided positive and encouraging feedback to last Tuesday’s training.  

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation thanks the Police Department of Arlington County, especially Lt. Pilco for giving them the opportunity to share with them their knowledge of FGM.  The Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Manassas, as well as the Counties of Prince George’s and Prince William are still pending for training in the Washington, D.C. metro area.  GWPF is committed to expanding the Kids Reach Shield training to other metropolitan areas in the country, once they have completed the Washington, D.C. metro.                            

Comments and questions to or call (703) 818-3787

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


  • United Nations CSW63 – March 11th – 22nd
  • Support Group Workshop – Saturday, March 16th
  • GWPF Represented at CSW63 with US End FGM/C Network – Thursday, March 21st
  • 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.

Special Announcement:  GWPF will join the US End FGM/C Network and other member organizations on March 21, 2019 at the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in New York.  The specific location of the Network’s panel discussion is the Church Center of the United Nations, 10th Floor on the grounds of the U.N. at 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, 10017, from 2:30pm until 4:00pm.  If you are able to attend this panel discussion, you are encouraged to register at this link:  We hope to see you in New York!

The education toolkit – Now Available and downloadable at

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.
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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

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words






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

RITTODAGOBNNIF                                       FINNBOGADOTTIR

S’NEMOW YAD                                              WOMEN’S DAY


DETINU SNOITAN                                         UNITED NATIONS


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

How You Can Help & Support Us

Here are some of the ways you can help and support our programs in 2018: 

  • Donations (including in-kind donations)
  • Partnering (collaborating in one of our programs and/or events)
  • Joining our Internship or Student-Ambassadorship Program 
  • Volunteering  
  • Donate through employer payroll deduction (through Your Cause, United Way or the government employee giving program)

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.