A. Lack of Assimilation and Cultural Isolation Contribute to FGM in the West

Immigrants often find themselves in a new environment that does not embrace them or their culture. Many have immigrated to the West seeking a better life and opportunities for themselves and their children. While there may be job opportunities for them, assimilation into the culture is often slow or non-existent. In addition, failure to learn the common language places the immigrant in a vulnerable position.

As a result of non-assimilation, immigrants tend to seek out the temples of their familiar and end up in neighborhoods and communities of their countrymen/women. This has the effect of replicating the very environment which they presumably left behind. Once the community is re-established, the traditions and mores take on the same stature as they had in the homeland. Thus, not being able to escape the cultural imperative that now exists in the new homeland, many immigrants will rely upon the traditions from home.

Girls and women are still subjected to FGM in the West because there is a need for acceptance in these newly reformatted communities. Although the new country has become the place of residence, the insular community has become home. There is no denying that FGM is linked to culture; therefore, lack of assimilation into the new culture means that immigrants will continue their traditions. This would seem to be the most compelling reason for families where there is some education and there does not appear to be dire poverty. In situations where families send their female children back to their country [p818] of origin to have FGM performed, there is an adherence to tradition bolstered by the transplanted community in the West.