Here’s a term I never wanted to learn: “vacation cutting.”
I learned about the expression in news stories that were strikingly bare of any reference to religion.
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This is what happens when parents believe that their daughters’ genitals need to be cut but realize that such treatment of children is illegal in the country where they now live. So far, in the U.S., such parents are typically immigrants. So they arrange a “vacation” to their country of origin—usually somewhere in Africa, South Asia, or the Middle East—where they can have their daughter (or daughters) undergo genital mutilation. It is still illegal but it is done out of the reach of U.S. law.
According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control recently released a report estimating that 513,000 women and girls are at risk of this “female circumcision.” They can’t be sure because families, and even the girls themselves, usually don’t want to admit to the practice.
For girls under eighteen years of age the risk has increased four-fold. For females of all ages the risk has more than tripled since 1990, when the CDC last conducted an estimate.
Notice what the Reuters article says:
Some immigrants send their daughters back to their home countries in what is called “vacation cutting,” which also is illegal under U.S. law, the study noted.
“Some immigrants” send girls overseas. That implies that others are doing it here in the U.S.
The CDC especially pointed to an influx of immigration from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Does INS even worry about families who immigrate from these areas as to whether they plan to do “vacation cutting”?
The United States should be a place of refuge to those families who wish to escape the cultural pressure to mutilate their daughters’ genitals and to risk their health and lives. But do we want to admit a growing population into this country that is committed to the practice? I don’t think it makes sense to let that kind of subculture expand here.
I am afraid that with our refusal to be perceived as anti-Islam, we are allowing some abusive practices to take root in this country.