Liberia: Political pressure silences act against FGM!

The following was taken from this week’s Waris Dirie Posts

(Liberia is one out of three countries in West Africa yet to ban FGM)

Liberia is one out of three countries in West Africa yet to ban FGM. Half of Liberian women and girls are estimated to have undergone the cruel procedure.

Things appeared to be changing last year when in response to many years of international and domestic pressure, a domestic violence bill was finally introduced to ban FGM in Liberia.

The law listed FGM as a criminal offence, but things changed, when several politicians were opposed to the new bill. The FGM revision was then removed from the bill!

Liberia’s first female head of state and Nobel Prize winner, President Johnson-Sirleaf, says “too many of our countries have yet to muster the courage to ban the irreparable harm inflicted by genital mutilation on young girls in traditional societies”.

Referring to Johnson-Sirleaf’s statement, which was repeatedly promised, it leaves us wondering why we are still waiting for the bill to be passed.

Observing Liberia’s political scene, it shows that a FGM bill would lead to losing support from the more traditional communities for next year’s election.

You would expect a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, who fought for the safety of women and for women’s rights, to overcome political pressure in order to save the lives of many young girls and women.

There have been too many promises and not enough action regarding female genital mutilation! It takes real measures to protect Liberia’s women from lifelong pain!



A Special Appeal to Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

By: A.M. Peabody

This is a special appeal to President Johnson-Sirleaf and Liberia’s lawmakers, to ban the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Liberia.

As a Liberian native and an advocate against the practice of FGM/C, I feel compelled to make this appeal to the leaders of Liberia.  Although I have not lived in Liberia for the past thirty-six years, I continue to retain my childhood memories connectivity for Liberia.  Liberia remains close to my heart.  However I find it embarrassing each time the country is mentioned in the news, as one of the countries in Africa that has failed to ban FGM/C.

During my formative years, I was taught to be proud that Liberia was the leader in Africa; it was the first independent republic on the continent.  I was actually proud to be a Liberian.  Now I find myself embarrassed when I tell my colleagues in the West that I am originally from Liberia.  Do not mistake my previous statement however; I still hold that pride which was instilled in me as a child by my parents.  I just have lost the confidence in Liberia to protect its helpless residents and citizens.

I often wonder if President Johnson-Sirleaf and her lawmakers are aware that little girls live in fear when school is out of session.  Are they aware that girls are forced to run for their lives in the bushes to escape their circumcisers?  Are they aware of how many Liberian young women live with physical and psychological pain every day of their lives?  Are they aware of how many Liberian women were never able to bear children as the result of post-FGM/C trauma?

The time has come to reconsider the stubborn argument of upholding the traditions of the country.  Ritualistic killing was once a tradition that ran rampant in Liberia when I was a child.  Is that still being upheld today?  I am a firm believer of upholding proud cultural traditions, such as passing down the foods, dance, music, clothing, respect for others and oneself, and many other harmless traditions to the next generations.  However when a tradition kills innocent little girls or leaves them physically and psychologically scarred for life, (if they survive) such a tradition must be banned and enforced by law.

I realize that some Liberians and other Africans believe that the Westerners should leave our culture alone and allow us to practice it.  Liberia is one of the founding members of the United Nations, and should set the example on the continent.  Instead, the Presidents of Nigeria, Senegal, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and other such African countries have stepped forward and banned the practice in their countries, while Liberia, the Mother Republic remains steadfast in upholding the practice.  This has nothing to do with Westerners interfering with our culture; this is about the protection of little girls.

What is really the problem?  What is the real reason for not banning the practice of FGM/C in Liberia?  Or, as the preceding article from Waris Dirie states, it could be the fear of losing support in the upcoming 2017 Liberian elections.  President Johnson-Sirleaf should not have such concerns because she is at the end of her presidential term.  As the outgoing Head of State, she should do what the outgoing Nigerian President did last year; he banned the practice in his country, knowing that he was not being reelected.  Madam President, by banning FGM/C in your final term will give you credibility as a leader and as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Would you want to leave office after twelve years of service as the first elected woman president of the continent, who failed to protect little Liberian girls from the excision of their womanhood?

I am appealing to you, Madam President to think of the innocent little girls in your country, and what this atrocious practice is doing to them.  As a mother and a grandmother, you in turn should make an appeal to all of the mothers and grandmothers of Liberia to stand up and commit to ending the practice of FGM/C.  One Liberian tradition that exhibits respect and high regard is when a woman is referred to as “Ma”, which means Mother.  The Liberians call you Ma Ellen; therefore they will listen and adhere to you when you urge them to stop practicing female circumcision.  Wouldn’t it be a great day in Liberia and its history?  Thank you, Madam President.


How Can I be a Participant in the Walk to End FGM?

We have received inquiries about how one may register to participate in the Walk to End FGM.  Here are step by step instructions on how to register.  Visit, scroll down and click on the reg=but button and follow the instructions.  The Walk page is simple to navigate.  Here are other ways in which you may get involved:

  • Register as an individual participant
  • Form a team and invite others to join your team and help raise funds
  • Join a team that is already formed
  • Register as a virtual participant and help raise funds (if you are unable to attend)
  • Sponsor a team or an individual participant or sponsor the event
  • Be a Partner Organization with Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation in the Walk to End FGM
  • Register as a volunteer


To volunteer, contact us at or call 703-818-3787.  Register at and Walk to End FGM.  Click on the link below to see some highlights of our 2015 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.

Weekly Special Announcements

45 Degrees Project stages their 3rd annual summer performance in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. Directed by Elana Anderson, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents “45 Degrees Project” opened this past Sunday, August 7th and runs through 13th in Chicago and on August 15th through the 21st Joy of Motion Dance Center presents “45 Degrees Project” on its stage in Washington, D.C. at 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002.  For tickets and additional information visit:

Vacation without Excision (Vacances San Excision)!  The second annual Vacances San Excision will open this Saturday, August 13th and runs through Sunday, August 14th.  Imagine 2 full days of teaching the children (boys and girls) about the enjoyment and safety of vacation.  The first of its kind in the U.S., Inter-Africa Committee (IAC-USA) launched its Vacances San Excision (Vacation without Excision) in August of 2015.  They had great success and decided to make the event an annual one.  Held at 20021 Aircraft Drive, Germantown, Maryland 20874, this camp is expected to provide boys, girls and parents with the knowledge they need for a safe vacation, free of mutilation/cutting (Vacances San Excision).  The camp is free of charge with lunch and refreshments.  Register as many children as you have.  Join us on both days or choose one of the 2 days.


Shop Amazon Smile for Back-to-School & Donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation

Amazon Back to School Shopping

As you, our supporters are getting ready to send your kids back to school, we are reminding you to do your back-to-school shopping at and Amazon will donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation.  Please support us when you shop for back-to-school items. #StartWithaSmile at and Amazon will donate to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation.  We appreciate your donations and wish you happy shopping!


If you need overnight accommodations for the Walk to End FGM…The official hotel of the Walk to End FGM is the Double Tree by Hilton, Crystal City at 300 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22202.  A special negotiated rate is available when you register for the Walk.  The deadline for making your hotel room reservation is September 14, 2016.    If you call to book your hotel reservations, make sure to ask for the FGM 2016 Walk Room Block rate.

If you book online, make sure you click on this link to make your room reservations.

DoubleTree Logo

Volunteers Needed:  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is in search of volunteers for their 3rd annual Walk to End FGM in the nation’s capital on Saturday, October 15, 2016.  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.  A special registration code will be provided once you have been approved as a volunteer.  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”.

Save the Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016.  Plan to join us for the Walk to End FGM 2016.  We will release the list of our speakers later this month.  Registration is now available at  Call 703.818.3787 or email for additional information and volunteer opportunities.  Follow us on Twitter @1Globalwoman and “like” us on FaceBook

The book, Female Mutilation authored by Hilary Burrage has been released in the US and Canada.  The book is currently on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation highly recommends Female Mutilation for high school students and anyone who wants to learn more about the practice of FGM/C.  To read the author’s blog about the Inter-African Committee Geneva conference, visit here and to purchase a copy of the book, visit

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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

SIONCIXE                                                                            EXCISION

PACM                                                                                    CAMP

TIONCAVA                                                                          VACATION

TINGTUC                                                                             CUTTING

GUSTUA                                                                              AUGUST

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:

  • gofundme
  • 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)
  • Sign our Petition


The Global Woman Center to Begin All New Support Group Meeting

We are located at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.  The hours of operation by appointments only are Wednesday and Saturday 10:00am until 12:30pm.  All appointments and information are held confidential.

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.