For historical reference only, Hanny is now 94 and has retired

Qualifications of Hanny Lightfoot-Klein for serving as expert witness in Immigration Court hearings for women threatened, if forced to return to their own countries, with:

  1. I received my Masters of Arts degree in Social Psychology from the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1959 and my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 1950.

  2. Between 1979 and 1984 I spent a total of 32 months of self motivated, concentrated field research in Sudan, Kenya, and Egypt, studying female genital mutilation (FGM). The geographic area of my most intensive research was northern and central Sudan, where the practices are particularly severe and ubiquitous. A considerable portion of this time was also devoted to researching the practices in Kenya.

  3. I gained access to medical installations of all sorts, lived with families in the capital, in towns, villages and desert oases, and witnessed more than 100 births in heart-breakingly deficient and ill-equipped medical installations and on the dirt floors of village huts. This enabled me to witness first hand the life threatening complications created by the massive and hardened scarring resulting from the genital mutilations inflicted on women in infancy, childhood, adolescence or prior to marriage. I witnessed the death through exsanguination of a number of these women. I interviewed over 400 people in all walks of life on the psychological, social, marital, historical, medical, religious, political, and legal aspects of the practices.

  4. I published my research findings in four books: Prisoners of Ritual: An Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa (1989), A Woman's Odyssey into Africa: Tracks Across a Life (1992), and Secret Wounds (2002), which has been republished as Children's Genitals Under the Knife: Cultural Imperatives, Secrecy, and Shame (2007).

  5. In 1991, I received an award for "Outstanding Ethnographic Scholarship in Sexology" for Prisoners of Ritual. In 1994 I was a finalist for the "June Roth Memorial Book Award for Excellence in Writing on Health and Medicine", presented by the American Society of Journalists and Authors for A Woman's Odyssey into Africa.

  6. In 2001, I was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Symposium on Human Rights and Modern Society for my years of continuing research on Female Genital Cutting and its surrounding issues.

  7. My third book, Secret Wounds, which delves deeper into the social questions surrounding FGM and ponders as well the medical ethics of routine male circumcision and intersex surgery on non-consenting minors in the Western World was released in 2003. I have published a considerable number of articles on these topics in various scientific, legal and humanist journals, both in the United States and abroad.

  8. My fourth book, Children's Genitals Under the Knife: Social Imperatives, Secrecy and Shame, which addresses all forms of genital mutilation in minors, was released in 2007.

  9. I am a fellow and Clinical Supervisor of the American Board of Sexology.

  10. I have presented my research findings at numerous international symposia in the United States, Europe and Asia.

  11. I have published numerous articles in scientific texts and journals (See publications, below).

  12. I have lectured at various universities and scientific national and international congresses and meetings (See lectures and symposia, below).

  13. My continuing research over the past two decades has included in-depth interviews in Africa, the United States, Germany and Switzerland with FGM victims from Angola, Guinea, Senegal, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Sudan, Tanzania and numerous different tribal groups.

  14. My field work and continuing research has given me a deep understanding of the complex connections between custom, religion, social orders and Female Genital Mutilation among the many diverse cultures that co-exist in Africa. My understanding of these issues is up-to-date through my own studies and continuing intimate contact with the work of colleagues, with expertise in a broad range of disciplines.

  15. Since 2001 I have represented asylum seekers from many parts of Africa in Immigration Court hearings, in person, by telephone or via written depositions.

  16. Based on my twenty-five years of continuing involvement with and research into the problem of female genital mutilation in Africa and among African immigrants in the United States and Europe, I am uniquely qualified to serve as expert witness on this topic.

  17. I am available for written depositions as well as personal testimony in Immigration Court. I have testified in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Selected Publications

Lectures and Symposia

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