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Intact America Part 6: One boy vs five hundred thousand girls

October 12, 2018 "We don't really have to worry so much about [female genital mutilation] in the U.S. since there's a federal law and many state laws against it, and it's not something that we carry out every day on baby girls in hospitals." - Georganne Chapin [1] "Nationwide, 513,000 women and girls born into families who practice the tradition or who immigrated from those countries were at risk of female genital mutilation in 2012, more than double the number in 2000" - Centers for Disease Control [2]


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the ritual cutting or removal of a portion or all of the external female genitalia. Women subjected to FGM suffer significant physical, psychological, sexual, and obstetric harms. Unlike circumcision, there are no medical benefits. While FGM is most prevalent in the Middle East and Africa, our Facebook page followers know that many immigrant girls in Australia, Europe, and North America are also in danger.

The United States Government Accountability Office reported that in 2012, about 513,000 girls and women in the United States were subjected to or at risk of FGM. This total represented a 300% increase since 1990. [5] Globally at least 200 million females alive today have been subjected to FGM. [6] While FGM is a crime under federal and many state laws, there are few law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. Officials said that this may be due, in part, to under-reporting.


Intact America proclaims opposition to female genital mutilation. The group's Statement of Principles includes: [emphases added]

“Intact America fullfills its mission by challenging social and sexual norms and by advocating for the health and well being of all children and the adults they will become.” [7]

“Intact America believes that all children – regardless of their race, ethnicity, or culture of origin – have the right to be protected from bodily harm … The prepuce, or foreskin, is a normal part of both male and female genitalia… The clitoral prepuce is removed in certain types of female circumcision.” [8]

While Intact America claims to advocate for girls, in reality the organization does nothing to help FGM victims or end the practice. When Georganne Chapin was asked why Intact America hasn’t led a protest against FGM, her reaction was one of bewilderment. "There is a federal law against female genital mutilation in the U.S. What would an American anti-FGM protest entail? Complaining that people still break the law and cut their daughters?”

Well frankly – YES!

Chapin's excuse is that enacting a law solves the problem, and nothing more needs to be done. This is a bizarre attitude from someone who promotes herself as a human rights leader. By her logic, there's no reason to hold a rally to protest rape or domestic violence – because those acts are already illegal. Yet communities across the nation and around the world hold rallies, marches, and vigils to protest rape and other violence against women. Such events raise awareness about the crimes, and they provide emotional support for victims. What would Chapin tell the participants - they're wasting their time?

If Intact America cared about girls, the group could make a difference by sponsoring other activities. They could educate high-risk immigrant communities about how FGM harms girls and women. In an op-ed for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chapin expressed awareness that girls in Minnesota are at risk for FGM. [9] The state has a significant number of immigrants from Somalia, a country where 98% of women suffer the effects. [10] The Intact America director could have used that opportunity to speak to the 80,000 Somali immigrants in Minnesota. Two months later the Blood Stained Men spent five days in Minnesota protesting against circumcision. Intact America could have suggested that the group contact members of the Somali community. Instead, they did nothing.

The Intact America website contains scant information about FGM, and any content is mentioned only for the purpose of equating circumcision with genital mutilation. [11] While Intact America constantly appeals to its 50,000 followers for donations to help disseminate its anti-circumcision propaganda and demonize medical professionals, the group has not raised one dime to help victims of FGM or fund groups that work to end the brutality.


When one boy was about to be circumcised, Intact America published dozens of Facebook posts with his name and photo. Intact America provided daily updates, revealing intimate details about his personal medical history. Intact America sent more than 13,000 threatening letters to physicians in Florida and around the United States. Intact America called on its 50,000 followers to threaten a physician and a hospital. These actions did not prevent the medical procedure, but they were followed by death threats against the doctor, the father, and a judge - and a bomb threat against the hospital.

But when more than 500,000 girls in the United States are at risk for genital mutilation each year, all we hear are crickets. In its campaign to demonize circumcision practitioners, Intact America cynically uses FGM victims as pawns. But Intact America doesn’t hear their cries for help. Intactivists don’t seem to care about their suffering.

Perhaps Intact America would express a bit of interest … if the girls had penises.

[1] Georganne Chapin; Walden's Pond; WBAI Radio; January 24, 2010 [2] Alison Bowen; "Even for girls in U.S., female genital mutilation and 'vacation cutting' are risks"; Chicago Tribune; June 13, 2017

[4] "Health risks of female genital mutilation (FGM)"; World Health Organization

[5] GAO Highlights; "Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting"; United States Government Accountability Office; June, 2016

[7] Georganne Chapin; Intact America Statement of Principles; Intact America; April, 2015

[8] Intact America's original Statement of Principles included the entire text. When the Intact America website was redesigned in November 2019, only the first paragraph (referenced in footnote 7) was retained. The original complete statement can still be found here.

[9] Georganne Chapin; "We're appalled at genital mutilation of girls. What about boys (and circumcision)?"; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; May 11, 2017

[10] Salem Solomon; "Female Genital Mutilation Haunts Somalis in US"; VOA News; October 24, 2016

October 12: Part 6 - One boy vs five hundred thousand girls


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