Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough finished tied for second for the prestigious Global Woman Award in the Political Category awarded by the Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation for her tireless work to outlaw the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Maine.
Female Genital Mutilation, often referred to as FGM, is a destructive and horrific practice, during which the female genitals are partly or entirely removed or injured with the aim of inhibiting a woman’s sexual feelings. Most often the mutilation is performed before puberty, often on girls between the age of four and eight, but recently it is increasingly performed on babies who are only a couple of days, weeks or months old.
Rep. Sirocki has been working on this issue in the Maine Legislature for the past two years, just missing passing the landmark legislation during this past session when House Democrats banded together to kill the bill.
Rep. Sirocki says she was surprised to hear the news she was nominated for a Global Woman Award award.
“Not to be overly dramatic, I admittedly almost dropped my phone when I learned of this nomination for the Global Woman Award. I am deeply touched by the nomination.”
Sirocki was nominated for the award by FGM survivor F.A. Cole who was victimized as an 11-year-old girl in Sierra Leone. The two of them have worked closely together to ban FGM in Maine. But their attempts to build bipartisan support for an issue that really should not have been partisan at all were thwarted at every turn. Their repeated attempts to convince House Democrats to support this bill to protect young girls continues to fall on deaf ears.
“I nominated Rep. Heather Sirocki for a Global Woman Award in the Political category because of the ground breaking work she has done bringing to light the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Maine,” Cole said. “Even though she is yet to succeed in having her bill passed — while also dealing with threats to her and her family — Rep. Sirocki refuses to give in because protecting little girls at risk of undergoing FGM has become the core of her existence.”
Rep. Sirocki traveled to Washington D.C. for the award ceremony last Friday, October 26th and she also participated in the 5th annual Walk to End FGM on Monday, October 29th.
Despite outside hyper-partisan special interest groups failed attempts to label her and her work on this issue “racist” Sirocki continues to lead the fight to outlaw FGM in Maine, a fight she vows she will never give up on.
“My work to help eliminate and prohibit FGM in the state of Maine has been an emotional, frustrating and elusive passion of mine and many of my colleagues for two years,” Rep. Sirocki said. “We will not give up this fight until we are successful. I believe that protecting little girls in Maine is everyone’s responsibility but unfortunately, there are some people serving in the Maine Legislature who don’t feel the same way.”