In France, FGM is Reason to Fear Homelands, Seek Asylum

SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, YVELINES, France (WOMENSENEWS)— A 33-year-old French-born citizen here has vivid memories of what’s called “vacation cutting,” when immigrant parents send their daughters to stay with their families abroad and to endure female genital mutilation, or FGM.

Eman–who did not want to give her real name for fear of retribution–went to Senegal for a two-month summer vacation with her parents, four brothers and two sisters in July 1998.

At the time, she had no idea her summer family vacation in Senegal would include what her parents considered a sacred rite of passage and what she would decide was a reason to never return to that country again.

She was 8 and her sister 6 when three to five women, she cannot remember exactly how many, encircled and blindfolded them in the toilets of a deserted village of Dakar. Some women held down their arms and their legs while another applied a razor blade to their genitals.

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