An Ethiopian immigrant was convicted Wednesday of the genital mutilation of his 2-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in what was believed to be the first such criminal case in the United States.
Khalid Adem, 30, was found guilty of aggravated battery and cruelty to children. Prosecutors said he used scissors to remove his daughter’s clitoris in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001. The child’s mother, Fortunate Adem, said she did not discover it until more than a year later.
Adem, who had no criminal record, could have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. He held his face in his hands and wept loudly after the jury’s verdict was read.
During her father’s trial, the girl, now 7, clutched a teddy bear as she testified on videotape that her father “cut me on my private part.”
“This child has suffered, will suffer, the rest of her life,” Judge Richard Winegarden told Adem during sentencing.
It is unknown how many girls have died from the procedure, either during the cutting or from infections, or years later in childbirth. Nightmares, depression, shock and feelings of betrayal are common psychological side effects, according to a 2001 federal report.
Since 2001, the State Department estimates that up to 130 million women worldwide have undergone circumcision.
Just reading about this pierced my very soul. And the fact that the mother didn’t know it had happened until a year later? What must that poor little girl have gone through, having experienced that at her father’s hands and not knowing how (or unable because of whatever the circumstances were in that household) to tell her mother?
It’s so tragic how, even here in America, women are still treated like the chattel of the world.