IMPACT

Blake Lively Raises Awareness For Rise Of Female Genital Mutilation In The U.S.

Half a million girls in the U.S. are at risk of female genital mutilation.
Blake Lively attends the Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmaker: Blake Lively, 'Age of Adaline' at Apple Store Soho on
Blake Lively attends the Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmaker: Blake Lively, 'Age of Adaline' at Apple Store Soho on April 22, 2015 in New York City.

There’s been a whole lot of hype lately surrounding Blake Lively’s fit post-partum figure, but the actress is focused on bringing attention to a much more critical topic related to women’s bodies.

The “Age of Adaline” star posted a photo to her Instagram account on Wednesday of Jaha Dukureh, a survivor of female genital mutilation, to bring awareness to the fact that the brutal practice is on the rise in the United States.

Lively wrote in her post:

"Female genital mutilation is not just a third world issue. 504,000 girls in the U.S. alone are at risk for genital mutilation. Join me, @jahaendfgm and @lorealparisusa in raising our hands to stand up for women globally as we spend our #wcw this month honoring the women who are changing our world."

The number of women and girls in the United States who are at risk of female genital mutilation has more than doubled since 2000 to half a million, according to nonprofit Population Reference Bureau. 

FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons and comes with a whole slew of risks, including hemorrhage, tetanus, sepsis, cysts and infertility, among other issues. 

Lively is doing her part to raise awareness about the issue, and help curb the practice, by getting involved with L’Oreal’s “Women of Worth” campaign. The initiative is honoring 10 women who are tackling human rights issues.

Dukureh, who underwent the procedure when she was a child living in Gambia, is one of the honorees and is being recognized for her FGM activism.

Currently living in Atlanta, Dukureh still lives with the practice’s consequences and is using her experience to take meaningful steps to put a stop to it. She got involved in a Change.org petition urging the U.S. to collect data about FGM to more effectively gauge the scope of the issue and how to address it.

Last year, the U.S. government heard her plea and responded.

Cathy Russell, the U.S. ambassador for global women's issues, confirmed last summer that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would conduct a major study of the prevalence of FGM in America, the Guardian reported.

"I'm so excited because this is exactly what we asked for," she told the Guardian. "It is a great success not just for me but for everyone who has fought for this. But it doesn't stop here, we are not going away. This is a first step in ending FGM in the States, and where the U.S. leads others might follow."

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