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I recently read an article in Seventeen magazine that outraged me. I had no idea that things such as honor killings and female circumcision were everyday things in Middle Eastern countries. The pain that these brave women are having to endure upsets me alot and I really want to do something to help. I'm only 16 and have no idea what I can do to help, if you all know of something that I can do I would really appreciate it if you would let me know. Sincerly, Rachel

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM--and for not letting your outrage build up inside of you, but rather express it. There are so many things that I have learned from my years working in feminism--that I can't believe still happen. I feel like I am always walking around saying "Did you know....." and I fill in some gross inequity that exists. And these often go beyond what in comparison seem like "mild everyday sexism."

In terms of what you can do....you can do a a lot. Since both of these crimes--honor killings and female genital mutilation--are things that happen mostly to women in other countries, there are two main things you can do:

1.) Contact the U.S. State Department (the department that handles international crimes) and let them know that you want the U.S. government to put pressure on these countries to stop these atrocities. The U.S. government could do what it does with places like Cuba and more famously South Africa--embargoes to encourage the end to such treatment. You can also contact the United Nations to register similiar complaints. It's best to send a letter, but calls help, too. Emails have proved to be the least effective.

2.) You can contact an international women's organization that is working on putting an end to these injustices. The best organization that I know about is Equality NOW. They are doing lots on this issue and constantly have updates.

There also might be an organization in your area, where you could volunteer your time. And perhaps you want to do a report for school--as it's likely that just as you didn't know this - many of your schoolmates don't either.

Those are some starters. I hope they help you channel your energy.


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