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It is fantastic to know that finally FGM is recognized in a court of law in Virginia as a separate crime. But, I have some concerns how this was handled. Haley Winn writes that “Black and Dunnavant originally proposed that performing or allowing a female circumcision be a felony punishable by at least five years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

If someone took out a chunk of my body, I would want to make sure that person paid hard for it. In the worse way(s). That was not what went through though. Haley Winn continues; saying the bill’s supporters decided it would be better to reduce the impact. Instead it is a misdemeanor. I get that this is a step in the right direction, seeing that most other states do not look at FGM as an individual/independent crime. I ask where is the justice for the people who were wronged? You mean to tell me that if someone has this done against their will to them they can be reassured that the perpetrator is in the same amount of trouble as someone who had just committed petty theft, trespassed on private property, or got caught with cannabis.

Previously someone could be charged with malicious wounding, which is what FGM was previously treated as, which is a felony. I cannot help but feel like this is a step back, but we have taken two steps forward. It is just a shame that the punishment does not seem to fit the crime and it is simply because the General Assembly has a budget to keep, but that’s politics.

Avery Hare

Leesburg

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