UNLV professor assembling expert team to assist victims of female genital mutilation
LAS VEGAS, April 13– Clitoraid, a non-profit, U.S.-based organization, announced today that on March 27, Dr. Marci Bowers performed the first clitoral repairs ever made in the United States at her Colorado clinic, successfully restoring clitoral functioning to three victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) currently residing in the United States.
In a related development, Dr. Larry Ashley of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has accepted the task of assembling a team of experts to design a protocol that will help additional millions of FGM victims.
Clitoraid, which is spearheading these efforts, was founded by Rael, who is also the founder and leader of the International Raelian Movement. With Clitoraid’s assistance, scores of African women are already signing up for the procedure that restores the organ of sexual pleasure.Dr. Bowers offered to help Clitoraid's team about a year ago. After being trained by Dr. Pierre Foldes, the French surgeon who developed the new restoration technique in Paris, she decided to allocate time for operating on genitally mutilated women living in the United States. She also volunteered to perform such surgeries at The Pleasure Hospital, also known as Kamkaso Hospital, in Burkino Faso, Africa, which is currently under construction through Clitoraid fundraising efforts. Thousands of women are awaiting the hospital's completion so they can have the surgery.
In the meantime, Clitoraid is lining up pre-surgical and post-surgical counseling as an adjunct to the procedure.
"After meeting with the desperate women before and after the operation in Colorado that entirely restored their sexuality, we realized that helping them with surgery wasn't enough," said Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, president of Clitoraid. "Their psychological scars are at least as deep as the physical scars treated through surgery, and there's no need to say how thrilled we were when we received an inquiry from Dr. Ashley. After our first meeting, he agreed to put a team together to help these mutilated women psychologically both before and after the surgery!”
Larry Ashley is Addictions Specialist and Associate Professor in Residence for the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He specializes in the treatment of combat and sexual traumas, with a primary focus on the training and mentoring of addiction and trauma professionals.
For the Clitoraid collaboration, he will assemble and train a team of community providers and graduate students to provide counseling and therapy for FGM victims before surgery and to follow-up after the procedure.
After his first meeting with one of the women who had the surgery March 27, he confirmed his enthusiasm.
"Of all of the sexual trauma survivors I've worked with, the women who are victims of female genital mutilation are among the most psychologically impacted I've have been associated with," he said. "I feel very fortunate that I can help. There is a tremendous need to have emotional aid available as well as corrective surgery."