Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

The Greater Los Angeles Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Task force was formed by a collaborative of multiple disciplinary individuals that bring their expertise together to educate local communities and government agencies in the most effective and constructive approaches to ending FGM practices. The FGM Task force’s mission is to end FGM by taking a culturally sensitive approach to communicating with communities that may still practice FGM.

FGM is thought to be taboo, “Don’t talk about it, do not ask”. FGM is a topic that is rarely spoken about and is buried in a culture of silence in many societies, just the way sex and sexuality-related issues are. FMG is a touchy subject that is challenging to discuss, and those who require services might not know how to ask for assistance or where to look.

When professionals are unsure of what to say or how to best support someone who has
already undergone FGM, that is one of the main scenarios and reasons the FGM taskforce steps in. Many clinicians lack the knowledge and abilities necessary to help someone who has had FGM, and rapport is frequently still developing. A lack of trust can impair their rehabilitation process because effective services can only be provided if there is a trusting relationship with a knowledgeable practitioner including one paying attention to their psychological needs. This means that in order to overcome those obstacles, including language problems, professionals require additional orientation, training, guidelines, and support.

Women might not be aware of specialized assistance or services that can treat problems caused by FGM. This lack of awareness may be caused by a lack of knowledge about FGM and a lack of
services, but it may also be due to the fact that FGM and related gynecological, sexual, and emotional problems are private, delicate, and taboo subjects in many African cultures, and are rarely openly discussed within communities. The African Communities Public Health Coalition
(ACPHC) forms part of the FGM Taskforce and specifically works with communities of African
descent, including refugees and immigrants. We are among the few organizations in Southern California that cater to special populations, such as refugees, asylum seekers, and human trafficked African and Caribbean born immigrants. Through our connections in these
communities, we bring awareness and link individuals to the appropriate resources that aid in their recovery from FGM practices.

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