Daniel Rold | Who Is Protecting the Children?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

There is nothing more important on this planet than how we raise our children. There is no time in our lives like childhood. Once it is gone, it will never come back. There are no redos. 

No human endeavor is more essential to our lives, nor more influential to the future of our planet than how we treat, raise and educate our children. 

As parents and adults, it is our responsibility to ensure our children have a happy, safe, loving environment in which they can grow up. In a healthy society all adults care for and are responsible for ensuring children are safe and protected, meaning we can and must protect children even if they are not our own. It is said it takes a village to raise a child. Our whole society must make this a priority if we want to give our children a better world and a better future. 

Trauma in a child’s life has proven to create lifelong repercussions that affect who a person becomes and how they respond to the world. 

A society can judge itself by how it treats its children. Outsiders (and insiders) can and should reasonably judge another society by what it does to children without being labeled a bigot or racist, as the judgment falls on a harmful behavior, not on the genetics or arbitrary characteristic of a group. In fact, decrying the efforts of human rights advocates as racist, bigoted or somehow related to race is itself a bigoted attempt to silence legitimate criticism.  

Societies with norms harmful to children must reevaluate their ideas, norms and relative morals with an increased understanding of how best to raise little humans. As humans advance into the modern information age we must not be stuck on old customs that harm children, like cutting their sex organs, or binding their feet, or subjecting them to harsh treatments. 

Our society has failed our most vulnerable, most precious and most valuable. One of the most hideous forms of child abuse, female genital mutilation, was committed on our soil against helpless children and the perpetrators were let off scot-free.

For more than 12 years, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, a medically trained doctor in an American clinic, traveled from Michigan to Minnesota to avoid being caught so she could cut into the healthy genital tissue of hundreds of little girls, harming them and damaging their little bodies while they screamed in pain. Nagarwala’s associate, Farida Attar, wife of the doctor who owned the clinic, helped by holding the children’s legs open as their sex organs were mercilessly cut. The children were told they were going on a fun little vacation. This was no vacation, but a horrendous violation. After the dirty deeds the children were given cake and instructed not tell anyone what happened to them. 

The Detroit Free Press reported that a doctors examination uncovered scarring, a tear, lacerations and “what appears to be surgical removal of a portion of her genitalia.”

This act is a violation of the most fundamental, basic human right there is, ownership of one’s own body. Claims that ending child genital cutting violates religious freedom are 180 degrees backward. Carving a religious ritual into the genitals of a helpless child forever brands the child by the religion, violating the child’s right to his or her freedom of religion. Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom to violate someone’s else’s body and their choice of religion. Such a notion is preposterous, to use freedoms to justify violating someone else’s freedoms.  

It is a degrading, painful, barbaric, disgusting crime against children. It is shameful that children are violated without even a successful prosecution on American soil. This is a story you should read about in some faraway remote area of the world, not the mighty, modern United States of America. 

Yet, as obviously morally wrong as this is, as hideous and alarming as it is, an American judge, Judge Bernard Friedman, eviscerated the hard-fought federal anti-FGM law Nargarwala and her associates were charged with violating, by claiming that there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to get involved in state criminal issues. 

We once fought a war for the federal government to have the right to protect ALL of its citizens. The Declaration of Independence tells us we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition, the crime involved interstate transport to avoid prosecution, making it a federal case. Even parts of the Bill of Rights are more then enough legal capital to prosecute this case. However, it was all thrown out. 

Recently, just when a person thinks this case couldn’t get any more enraging, the last chance for any form of justice in this case for those little girls was dropped when this morally challenged and legally weak-minded judge threw out the last important charge, the case of transporting minors across state lines for the goal of committing a crime. 

Nargarwala is now free, to live among us, and free to treat patients, to treat children as a medical doctor. If the law cannot protect a child from adults cutting into their sex organs, what is the purpose of having laws at all? 

Every lawyer should be embarrassed, every judge outraged, every legislator working hard to correct this massive failing of justice. It is you who are failing our children. You can’t even protect children from sexual assault? THAT’S the law you failed to make? What are you doing with your time we are paying you for? 

Female genital mutilation risk is on the rise due to migration from cultures that practice FGM. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 American women are at risk of FGM, an increase of four times the number estimated in 1990. 

How did this happen, America? Where is the outrage of the feminists? Where is the news coverage? Where is the “60 Minutes” episode exposing our impotence to help protect children from adults with knives even after the fact, even with definitive proof? 

Shame on America for allowing the torture and mutilation of helpless little children. 

Feminists, PLEASE, rise up! If there was ever a need for your voice, the time is now. How are we going to end FGM in Africa if we can’t even stop it on our own soil? As it stands, there is no justice for these little girls. Nargarwala is free and still practicing medicine. We couldn’t even remove her license. 

What message did this send to the world? Let’s do the numbers. The federal anti-FGM law fought for by such famous activists as FGM victim Soraya Mire was passed by Congress in 1996. There was not a single prosecution until 2017 and the CDC is telling us there are more than 513,000 American women at risk, a fourfold increase from 31 years ago. With a risk of that size it would be naive to assume this is not happening far more then we could possibly know. What this means is this is happening unhampered, unbothered, unchallenged, right now, down the street from you and nothing is being done about it.  

We can do better than this, America! 

Daniel Rold

Agua Dulce

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