An Exclusive with Dr. Marci Bowers on Post-FGM/C Surgery

GWPF:  There have been some misconceptions about clitoral restoration.  Please share with us exactly what such a procedure entails.

Dr. Bowers in Surgery

Dr. Bowers:  Current thinking about the clitoris is dismissive and extremely superficial. In fact, the clitoris has been physiologically mapped and measured as much as 11 centimeters. With even the most severe FGM, this means that less than 5% of the clitoris is removed, literally, the tip of the iceberg. The FGM restorative surgery is simply in that it releases the remaining clitoris and brings it to the skin surface where it is secured with stitches. The nerves remain intact. The operation is simple in concept but delicate and quite detailed, taking less than one hour.

GWPF:  What are the benefits of the restorative surgery for a woman in post-FGM life?

Dr. Bowers:  Previously buried, the restoration allows the remaining clitoris to be contacted during sexual contact, no longer buried beneath skin and scar tissue. Patients describe their post-restorative state as ‘life-changing’. More than half are able to achieve orgasm and more than 90% report an improvement in sexual function, reporting greatly improved comfort and reduced pain in addition to sexual feeling.

GWPF:  How many restorative surgeries did you perform in the Kenya?

Dr. Bowers:  In two weeks we were able to perform 44 restorative surgeries with hundreds of inquiries and future patients awaiting the process. The problem after two weeks was that our funding was insufficient to perform more surgeries, so this remains an obstacle we are working on. Hopefully with and other NGO’s help.

GWPF:  What was the experience in Kenya like to help so many women?

Dr. Bowers:  This was an incredible experience with patients coming from as far away as Ireland, Tanzania and Nigeria. When news reports of the effort became public, hundreds more arrived with little more than hope. For those we were able to help, we continue to get “WhatsApp” reports of progress and exclaims of joy and thanks.

GWPF:  How many physicians did you train to perform clitoral restoration during your recent work in Kenya?

Dr. Bowers:  The good news beyond individual restorations was that we invited as many surgeons as possible from throughout Kenya. As a result, more than half of Kenya’s plastic surgeons witnessed surgery. We were able to successfully train doctors in Plastic Surgery, OB/GYN, and Urology, 6 in total, which has the effect of expanding capacity. I cannot reach all patients personally so I was able to do more by training others to continue the work.

GWPF:  What did you say to the women who came to you seeking clitoral restoration?

Dr. Bowers:  We say ‘Karibu’ meaning welcome in Swahili. We are here to help you. The team consisted of local doctors, many others and I.  Here in San Francisco, our message is hope. We find the clitoris each and every time we operate meaning, I cannot think of an operation with a higher likelihood of success. We haven’t completely identified why there is skepticism about the procedure, aside from the regressive attitudes regarding female sexuality, also reflected in FGM as global misogyny.

GWPF:  What advice would you offer other health professionals on how to encourage FGM survivors to have their regular check-ups?

Dr. Bowers: I would tell providers, “please do not assume women are happy with this cultural procedure. FGM is done without consent and typically against the child’s will or without parental knowledge. It robs young women a basic human right, as important as if the sense of taste or smell were taken. And there is surgery that can restore what is buried. Discuss options.”

GWPF:  How did the women in Kenya respond to the work you did there?

Dr. Bowers:  Tears of joy, many just wanted to touch my hands even, if surgery was not possible due to the growing queue. There was so much happiness and hope, many accompanied by the men in their lives.

GWPF:  Does this mean that women wanting the restorative surgery anywhere in Africa can go to Kenya?

Dr. Bowers:  Yes, there are doctors now in Kenya who are fully capable of ably performing the surgery, especially Doctors Adan Abdullahi, Dribsa, Matua and others. The only remaining obstacle is cost.

GWPF:  What is the cost of such surgery if it is done in Kenya?

Dr. Bowers:  Unfortunately, hospital costs, even in Kenya, are high with costs that can exceed $1500 USD (150,000 KSH), a very high amount for most of Kenya’s citizens. This is very near the cost here in San Francisco, where we are able to keep costs low by performing the surgeries in an outpatient surgery center and charging no professional fees. In Kenya, we were fortunate to have the costs partially underwritten by the hospitals, doctors and several NGO’s including Clitoraid.

GWPF:  Where do you see clitoral restoration in the next ten years?

Dr. Bowers:  The surgery works and this will be definitively shown to all skeptics as more science backs us up. Eventually, the surgery will be taught to most OB/GYNs and plastic surgeons and should be a part of all medical education programs, at least in Africa. There is still no education regarding FGM anywhere that I am aware in formal medical education, even in Africa. I gave Grand Rounds at Nairobi Medical School in Kenyatta National Hospital while there and was very well received. This is just the beginning but the anti-FGM movement is moving faster now and has the potential to end FGM in my lifetime. FGM benefits no one and the truth is emerging. More education is the key. Women’s bodies need a bigger voice. During my speech there, I was able to compare the clitoris to the penis in its similarity and this seemed shocking to the audience, many of whom were major department heads but, by the end of the talk, many were nodding their heads in affirmation.

GWPF:  What is your next country to train?

   Dr. Bowers:  Since our visit to Kenya alone, we have been contacted to teach in Tanzania,     Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger and Nigeria. There is much work to be done! We also hope to bring our collaborative efforts back to Burkina Faso where we have a pre-existing hospital that we built but were unable to open.


Please send comments and questions about the preceding article to or call (703) 818-3787.

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


  • Walk To End FGM registration – Effective May 23rd
  • Support/Focus Group Meeting – Will return on June 10th
  • Announcement of GWPF 2017 Award Recipients – June 13th
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Mid-Year Board Meeting – July 15th
  • Vacances San Excision (Summer without Cutting) Camp – August 19th
  • Walk To End FGM – October 21st
  • Giving Tuesday – November 28th
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Year-End Board Meeting – December 1st

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


Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation FGM/C Support Group

Our monthly survivors support group meetings will resume on Saturday, June 10th.  These meetings are for women who are in the process of healing (emotionally and physically) and wish to receive emotional support in a group setting.  During support group meetings, participants can share any aspect of their stories that they wish to reveal and are showered with unconditional love and support.  In addition to scheduled group meetings, individual support meetings are available, recommended, and encouraged for any survivor who may not be ready or interested in attending group meetings.  To schedule one-on-one meetings, please contact us at the following email address or call 703.818.3787 to inform us of your interest in attending individual sessions with one of our staff members.  Confidentiality, respect, and an abundance of understanding and unconditional acceptance are our fundamental objectives.  Our group facilitator is Willa Jones, Ph.D., a District of Columbia licensed professional counselor with over 20 years of experience.  The Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation staff person, who will also attend group sessions, is Amie Jallah.  You are invited to come out and let us support and celebrate your growth and progress at our next group session, Saturday, June 10th, at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, DC  20016 from noon until 1 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.

Volunteers Needed:  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is in search of volunteers for their 4th annual Walk to End FGM in the nation’s capital on Saturday, October 21, 2017.  Volunteers’ responsibilities are: Arrive early, set-up, on-site registration, T-shirt and bag distribution, oversee donations, supervision of the tents, coordinate pre-walk ceremony, seat speakers and guests, coordinate photo-ops and pre-walk interviews.  All volunteers will have free registration for the walk.  If you are interested in being a volunteer for the Walk To End FGM send an email to  and put in the subject line, “Volunteer”.

To volunteer, contact us at or call 703-818-3787.  Register at and Walk to End FGM.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  As such, your donations and registration fees are tax deductible to the maximum extent required by law.


Make Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Your Favorite Charity in 2017

When you shop during the year at Amazon, please select Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation as your charity of choice. When you #StartWithaSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Global Woman Peace Foundation. Bookmark the link below and support us every time you shop.

In your charitable contributions and donations in 2017, please consider Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation by either through the DONATE BUTTON below or by sending a check to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, 14001A Grumble Jones Court, Centreville, Virginia 20121.  Your generous donations are tax deductible.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

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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

ILDCH USEBA                                                                     CHILD ABUSE

PEDIAKIWI                                                                          WIKIPEDIA

LEAHTH MENTEPARTD                                                 HEALTH DEPARTMENT

GIVERERAC                                                                        CAREGIVER

SACRS                                                                                   SCARS

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 2016:

  • 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)

The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group next session returns on June 10th.  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.