Invisible and involuntary: female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum.

Cornell Law Review. 2010, Vol. 95:599-626FREE

Invisible and involuntary: female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum.

Zsaleh E. Harivandi

EXTRACT

Female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice of cutting or otherwise damaging the genitalia of young women and girls, is a cultural tradition in some third-world countries. Although the practice is widespread in parts of the world, many women and girls participate unwillingly. After all, FGM has severe short- and long-term health consequences both for the women who undergo it and for their future children. Despite the severity of the harm caused by FGM, however, many women who arrive in the United States seeking asylum on the basis of FGM have difficulty establishing that they are, in fact, refugees.

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