The following letter was sent to San Francisco Sheriff Mirkarimi in support of the One Billion Rising action he organized for the inmates of the San Bruno Jail on Feb 14. This story is all the more compelling that Sheriff Mirkarimi was himself accused of domestic violence by his wife, Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez over a year ago. Since then, the couple reunited and the Sheriff's wife decided to partake in the choreographed dance that day.
Dear Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi,
My name is Karen Heaven spokesperson for Clitoraid in the US. I'm writing to you in support of your recent action inviting local choreographer Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, founder and producer of Dancing Without Borders
, to engage county jail inmates (some of whom have been perpetrators of serious cases of domestic violence) in dancing to support "One Billion Rising" on February 14. What a wonderful way to encourage an end to violence against women, especially in an institution such as the one you oversee. This is what rehabilitation should look like!
I'm particularly drawn to your story because I'm the U.S. leader of an international, non-profit organization that also strives to counteract violence done to women. Specifically, we help women who suffered from the effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Our volunteer surgeons have offered clitoral repair surgery to dozens of such patients in the United States over the past several years. In fact, on the very day that you were leading your inmates to rise and dance against violence, Dr. Marci Bowers was operating on an FGM victim in San Mateo, Calif., just a few miles from the San Bruno jail!
Though the act of FGM hardly ever occurs within the United States, Clitoraid reaches out to women who have come here as immigrants from countries where this hideous practice still takes place. Some of these victims live in the Bay area.
To help such victims cope with the effects of this extreme trauma they experienced as little girls, Clitoraid applies humanitarian values of the Raelian philosophy advocated by spiritual leader Rael, who founded our U.S.- based charity in 2006. Indeed, our No. 1 value is femininity (not feminism). We hold the quality of femininity to be "the future of humanity."
In our eyes, you and all others involved in the One Billion Rising dance initiative at the San Bruno jail were illustrating this quality of femininity, including your wife as she danced next to you, consciously forgiving you for your act of violence committed months earlier. Forgiving, seeking forgiveness and rehabilitation are acts of femininity that all Clitoraid patients and their families must go through to heal. The same is true for those who committed the act of FGM, for each of your inmates and for everyone else on this planet.