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  • Dr. Tobe Levin Freifrau von Gleichen

An “Ethical Charter” to help stop FGM: Pierre Foldes opens the Institut en Santé Génésique

Dr. Pierre Foldes opens the Institut Génésique on March 7, 2014

Khady had only just turned fifteen when, married a year earlier, she arrived in Paris as the child bride of an immigrant sanitary worker. Facing marital rape night after night, she gave birth to five children in as many years. And then her husband imported a second wife. Fortunately, Khady had completed the 7th grade and knew how to write but most of her friends from Senegal were illiterate. Nearly all were also without private means, dependent on the generosity or meanness of spouses who controlled the purse-strings. Many men disapproved of birth control and would beat wives they discovered were taking the pill, creating intolerable living conditions. But who was there to help the young person without money, without marketable skills, with dependent children, who has been excised and forced to endure that particular suffering and sorrow? To whom does she turn if she wants to escape?

This is Khady’s story as told in Blood Stains, and the answer to the question when she faced these disasters was “no one.” A truly remarkable woman, Khady deployed her feistiness, intelligence, and courage to box her own way out, into a profession and a public life fighting to ease the path for other immigrant women facing similar constraints.

She now has strong allies. On 7 March 2014, anticipating International Women’s Day, the French county Yvelines including the noble Parisian suburb of St-Germain-en-Laye celebrated with Dr. Pierre Foldes, Frédérique Martz, Linda Weil-Curiel and colleagues the opening of an interdisciplinary, holistic institute that addresses violence against women. To overcome inefficiency by bundling various specialties, the Institute welcomes distressed women (gratis), spends time to interview them and determines how best to set up a help schedule. To do this, it calls on the paid and volunteer staff including physicians, surgeons, lawyers, politicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, thus offering clients a single address at which to start what can otherwise be a nightmarish journey seeking aid through unfamiliar bureaucratic channels. Associates of the Institute génésique treat some complaints on site—the Institute is associated with the hospital where Pierre Foldes restores the clitoris. Otherwise, they make referrals, assured that the network’s professionals have a firm grounding in special needs. For instance, an immigrant woman appears, a victim of domestic assault and marital rape, whose husband is the sole source of her income. She is diabetic but he deprives her of access to medication. To whom can she turn? The Institut Génésique will take her under its wing and show the way.

The Clitoris Restoration Fund supports the Institute génésique by referring women for clitoris restoration. Your help is greatly appreciated.

In the United States, a tax deductible donation may be sent to the Clitoris Restoration Fund c/o Healthy Tomorrow, 14 William St., Somerville, MA 02144. On your check, please be sure to note that it is for the Clitoris Restoration Fund.

You can also make a tax-deductible contribution in Germany by bank transfer to FORWARD for Women e.V. with the clear notation Clitoris Restoration Fund and your mailing address for the tax exempt certificate (Spendenquittung): FORWARD for Women e.V., Frankfurter Sparkasse, BLZ 500 502 01, Account # 200029398. Options for giving with tax exemption from other venues are being explored.

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