Report: Female Circumcision in Iraqi Kurdistan Still High

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Article from the Time Magazine:

For many young girls in the world, a life-changing experience might be reaching puberty or discovering a first crush. For Gola, a 17-year-old student from Iraqi Kurdistan, it was the moment her mother and sister-in-law took her to get circumcised. “They put us in the bathroom, held our legs open and cut something,” Gola, whose real name has been withheld for privacy reasons, recalls in the new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, “‘They Took Me and Told Me Nothing’: Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan.”

In mid-June, the New York City–based NGO released a study about female genital cutting or mutilation, commonly referred to as FGC or FGM, in Iraqi Kurdistan that stresses the prevalence of the practice and its lasting effects on women in the region. Most importantly, the study found that Kurdish women and girls are receiving mixed messages and inaccurate facts about the reasons for female genital mutilation, as well as wrong information about its health consequences. “People know that it happens in Egypt and perhaps Yemen, but not too many people are aware that it also happens in various other communities in the Middle East,” says Nadya Khalife, Middle East women’s rights researcher at HRW. “We wanted to shed light on this practice because it is a health issue … and because it is a form of violence against children and women.”

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