This has been a banner year for the #METOO Movement. Allegations against men who have taken advantage of women in a variety of ways, from rape to inappropriate touching, have toppled many influential men from powerful positions these last couple of years. There have been women’s marches and rallies and the near destruction of a Supreme Court nominee, all in the name of women’s rights over their bodies.

I’m more than curious ladies, then why NO OUTCRY this week over the dismissal of charges in the first case ever prosecuted in the United States against female genital mutilation? U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman of Detroit has declared the law banning FGM unconstitutional, dismissing the key charges against two Michigan doctors and six others accused of subjecting at least nine minor girls to the cutting procedure in the nation’s first FGM case. 

In case you don’t recall what FGM is (because if you did recall, I am sure the #metoo’ers would be outraged) here is a reminder. FGM falls into 4 categories; a clitoridectomy, a partial or total removal of the clitoris or the folds of skin around it; excision, partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minor (the inner folds of the vulva); infibulation, narrowing of the vaginal opening by sewing together the folds of the skin; and all others including pricking, piercing, cutting, incising, scraping or cauterizing. It is a brutal practice affecting thousands of young girls ages 3 to teen each year. Girls that are not given a choice. A practice that is done in often archaic ways in filthy rooms, and is disfiguring, and can cause serious, even deadly, infections and lifelong problems. It is done mostly culturally, not religiously, to keep girls chaste before marriage and keep them from infidelity after. It is an archaic practice for men to get what they want, and for women to have no enjoyment in sex.

There are over 200,000,000 women and girls alive today who have been subjected to this atrocity. 44,000,000 of those are under the age of 15. Although it is banned in 30 countries, it continues in secret. 

In 1996 the US Congress banned the practice in the United States. From then until now, although the numbers in America are around 500,000 victims, it has never been court tested. The reason the judge dismissed charges is that he agreed with the defense that the law was unconstitutional as written, and that it is not for the federal government, but for the states to deem the practice legal or illegal. 27 states currently ban the practice.

Yet in the last two decades, FGM has tripled in the United States. Estimates are that 500,000 girls and women have been subjected to or are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation. In those same 20 years in which we have tripled the number of victims there has been 1 prosecution, which has now been dismissed. This is abysmal.

Immigration into our country brings people from places where they practice FGM, and it is growing in America, yet shrinking in other countries. It is hushed up, girls are told not to speak of it. Yet the women who march against men so freely in America, ignore this barbaric assault on the bodies and futures of half a million young girls. It boggles the mind.

I just want to really understand where that line is in the #metoo movement. Is it if someone’s politics don’t match yours, they are a target? Is it to make men take us seriously and behave better with women? Is it to call attention to victimhood, some days it seems “in” to be a victim? Is it about litigation?

When we start saying that all women must be believed, you’ve lost me there. I know lots of women who lie, and lots of men too, so that just can’t hold water.

But ladies, with all the marches and the anger that we have seen about standing up for women, I am hearing nothing but crickets on this issue. What better way to stand up for women than protesting to high heaven about someone cutting off pieces of little defenseless girls lady parts, threatening their very lives, and certainly their future sexuality forever, allegedly for the purpose of a future male getting what he wants. 

Who is #metoo about if not those that are unable to defend themselves? Thousands of you came out to defend a woman against a man that was deemed innocent. Thousands of you come out against the President, against many powerful men in entertainment, in business, in sports. Where are your voices against the other women doing this abhorrent act to their children, and the perpetrators of the act as well? 

Women have the power to stop this in a very short time. How could we not take up this battle on behalf of young girls in America? If your #metoo has truth, and is not just a front for political action, why are you not marching and making yourselves heard in every state, especially those 23 that do not even ban FGM. Your voices are needed and I am wondering where you are, while 6 year old little girls are being mutilated in America. Where are you?

Linda Martinelli is the owner and President of Proforma Graphic Printsource,Inc, Co-Owner and CFO of ETCforensic LLC, CFO of Martinelli & Associates .com. She is a weekly columnist to America Out Loud, and is host of Talking While Married. Linda is the first sole female franchise owner in Proforma to qualify for the Million Dollar Club and reach Multi-Million Dollar Club status. She was also Proforma’s first female development coach and in 2005, was the first female elected by her business peers to the elite Owners Advisory Council. In 2011, Linda was named one of ASI’s Top 10 Women to Watch and earned Proforma’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Award in 2012.

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