International Women’s Day, ending violence and FGM

Lorraine students Foldes

Lorraine Koonce Farahmand with her class attending the speech by Dr. PIerre Foldes, Frédérique Martz and Axelle Cormier at the University of Paris Cergy-Pontoise 2 March 2017


At the University of Paris Cergy-Pontoise on 2 March 2017, Dr. Pierre Foldes, Frédérique Martz and Axelle Cormier talked to dozens of interested students about violence against women, suggesting we may sooner find an answer to ending FGM if we see it in the complex context of a broader category, sexual violence in general. Representing the Institut en Santé Génésique, the three experts opened by soliciting audience participation.  Under the heading “Violences sexistes,” three questions appeared on the screen:  Qui es-tu? (Who are you?), Que fais-tu? (What do you do?), Que fait-on (What can you/ what can I do?) Allegorical figures soon populated the first list,  students offering such terms as Inequality, Abuse, Aggression,  Feminine Weakness, Silence, Denial. What violence DOES is produce trauma, isolation, humiliation, loss of self-confidence, guilt. … What you and I can do? Mobilize! Educate! Break the taboo!

Parallels to  experience of the genitally mutilated are inescapable.

Foldes screen 2 March (2)

Foldes 2 March

Dr. Pierre Foldes is the subject of UnCUT/VOICES Press book by Hubert Prolongeau. Undoing FGM. Pierre Foldes, the Surgeon Who Restores the Clitoris. (Foreword Bernard Kouchner. Trans. and Afterword Tobe Levin) 2011.



To broaden decades of effort to understand FGM, a gathering of experts at Lady Margaret Hall on March 10, 2017, will also place the ‘harmful traditional practice’ within the larger scope of contingent abuses. And you are invited!  See

Four specific Challenges to Ending FGM:

Medicalization, Female Genital (Cosmetic) Surgery, Asylum,

and (Lack of) Education (about FGM)

We meet in the Mary O’Brien room, Lady Margaret Hall, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 2017, co-sponsored by the International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and the Clitoris Restoration and Fistula Repair Fund (UK charity commission # 1169186).

10:00 a.m.– 10:15 p.m.

Welcome. Dr Maria Jaschok, Director, IGS, and Dr Tobe Levin von Gleichen

10:15 – 11:30 p.m. Education. Chair: Dr Tobe Levin von Gleichen.

Resource experts: Professor Hazel Barrett, Coventry University; Kate Agha, Oxford Against Cutting; Kameel Ahmady, researcher and author, FGM in Iran; Dr. Michal Moskow, Chair, Board of Directors, Education and Skill Development Institute and Somali Family Services, Minneapolis, MN, and Garowe, Puntland, Somalia (Statement); Surgeon Dr Pierre Foldes and Frédérique Martz, l’Institut en Santé génésique (Statement on medical education).

11:30 to 12:45 p.m.: Medicalization. Chair:  Lorraine Koonce Farahmand, Solicitor (UK) and Attorney (NY), Advisor CRFRF, formerly American Graduate School of Paris, presently l’Université de Paris (Cergy-Pontoise and Dauphine).

Resource experts: Caroline Pinder, representative of 28 Too Many, presenting their report on medicalization; Dr Phoebe Abe, MBChB MSc FRSA, General Practitioner UK, CEO Dr Abe Foundation; Dr Morissanda Kouyaté, executive director, Inter-African Committee, Addis Ababa (statement).

12:45 – 1:15: Bannir le Couteau de l’Excision, [Away with the knives!] a 20-minute film produced by Erica Pomerance with Fatoumata Siré Diakité and Tobe Levin. Documentary showcasing curricula on FGM at a school for midwifery and a medical university in Bamako. Dir. Erica Pomerance. Montréal and Bamako, 2014.

1:15 – 2:00 Sandwich lunch. Cost-share requested.

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.: Female Genital (Cosmetic or Restorative) Surgery. Chair: Hilary Burrage, sociologist, author of Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015),  co-founder of CRFRF

Resource experts: Leyla Hussein, therapist and campaigner (statement); Hoda Ali, activist and nurse (NHS); Dr med. Dan mon O’Dey, plastic surgeon for genital reconstruction, University of Aachen (statement); Dr Mariame Racine Sow, educator (FORWARD – Germany) (Statement); Dr. Marci Bowers (SKYPE).

3:15 – 3:45 p.m.: Coffee and networking break

3:45 – 5:00 p.m.: Asylum. Chair: Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond OBE, Founder Refugee Studies Centre.

Resource experts: Dr Owolabi Bjalkander, Karolinska Institutet (SKYPE); Joy Keshi Walker, Arizona Summit Law School, Phoenix (statement); Dr Annagrazia Faraca, Perugia, Italy; Dr Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, President, DaMIGRA Board and FORWARD – Germany; Dexter Dias QC, Barrister.

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.: Discussion 

Participants: The WORKSHOP addresses feminist and other scholars in medicine, law, social work, education, law enforcement, psychology, gender studies, international relations and social policy concerned with (stopping) FGM.


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