The Mount Sinai Human Rights Program (MSHRP) conducts pro-bono medical evaluations for individuals seeking asylum in the United States,
many of whom have undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
Women who have undergone FGM/C can claim asylum in the US on the basis of “membership is a particular social group,” one of the five grounds for asylum. To date,
few studies describe the multiple additional forms of gender-based violence (GBV) that women who are survivors of FGM/C and are...
A retrospective descriptive qualitative study of FGM/C cases seen in the MSHRP from November 2014 to November 2016 was undertaken: The Constant Comparative Method (CCM) was used to identify themes derived from clients’ personal and physician’s medical affidavits. All members of the research team read each set of documents independently and recorded themes and sub-themes that arose.
The group then developed a consensus on the key themes. Transcripts were analyzed via line-by-line coding using...
Demographics ( Fig. 1 ) Sample size of 13 women Mean age of 34 years Majority from West Africa (92%) Mean age of 9 years at time of FGM/C Themes The role of cultural attitudes towards women The lack of agency felt by women in decision-making for themselves and their families Silence around experiences of FGM/C and the reinforcement of that silence The role of family dynamics in navigating FGM/C experiences The role of education in women’s lives,
and the denial of educational aspirations Other...
Conclusions Many factors enable the continued practice of FGM/C—enforced silence,
women’s perceived and actual lack of agency,
cultural norms and practices,
and other forms of GBV—each acting in turn to further disempower women. Women asylum seekers seek out social support while engaging in resistance against GBV. Implications For healthcare and other service providers,
the recurring thread of the multiple forms of violence endured throughout the lifespan by women seeking asylum for FGM/C and...
A Purposeful Approach to the Constant Comparative Method in the Analysis of Qualiative Interviews." Quality & Quantity. 2002;36:391-409. Lever H,
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and a History of Pervasive Gender-Based Violence Among Women Asylum Seekers Who Have Undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Retrospective Care Review. Under review. Sandelowski M.
Whatever Happened to Qualitative Description? Res Nurs...
Short Bio (max. 150 words or less)
Hazel Lever is a third year MD/MPH student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai,
where she served as research chair for the Mount Sinai Human Rights Program.
She graduated from Harvard University in 2013 with a BA in History of Science with a secondary field in Global Health/Health Policy.
Prior to starting medical school,
she worked for several years as a Program Assistant in the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute,
Office of the Medical Director.
She is originally...