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The West's Female-Genital Mutilation Wake-Up Call
New figures from the U.K. are finally revealing the true extent of female genital mutilation: In just six months, nearly 2,000 women and girls have been treated by Britain's National Health Service after undergoing the brutal procedure.
And with these statistics, which have been made available for the first time, hiding from the issue is no longer an option for Britain and the U.S.—and President Obama's pledge to eradicate this abuse has never been more pressing.
While FGM—the process of removing either parts or the entirety of the external female genitalia—has been a federal offense in the U.S. since 1996, a dearth of tangible data has meant years of Western authorities theorizing on the extent of (and solution to) the problem—with few results. Though the past year has seen a number of legislative steps being taken toward both identifying victims and punishing perpetrators, these calls to action have largely occurred on paper, and convictions remain nonexistent.
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