Women's Issues

Why FGM is Britain’s Issue Too

‘Genital mutilation of girls is sometimes referred to as “circumcision.” Implicitly, this likens it to male circumcision. If male circumcision meant removing the glans and testicles and adhering the remains of the penis to the empty sac, the comparison would be valid. It is not valid.’

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Warning: Graphic Images

 Genital mutilation of girls (sometimes known as ‘female circumcision’) is one of the biggest violations of human rights worldwide. With over 130 million victims in 30 countries, FGM is something that should be impossible to ignore & yet here in the UK we’re doing a damn good job of doing just that.

In England and Wales, an estimated 137,000 girls are living with FGM. 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM every single year.

This is no small issue.

FGM

Image Credit – NFSE

But what exactly is Female Genital Mutilation?

Well, there are three types.

Type 1 is called clitoridectomy, and involves the removal of part or all of the clitoris. Type 2 is excision, which is the removal of the clitoris, the labia minora & sometimes the labia majora. Type 3, known as infibulation, involves the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting & sewing over the outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris or inner labia, leaving only a very tiny hole through which to pass urine & menstrual fluid. This opening needs to be cut open to have sexual intercourse and also to give birth.

Contrary to popular belief, FGM is not religious, but is instead a cultural practice. It is usually arranged by a girl’s parents or other close family members & is carried out between infancy & age 15.

It has absolutely no health benefits & in fact only causes harm.

Just a few of the problems that FGM can lead to include: recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, chronic back & pelvic pain, kidney infections, fistulas that cause women to constantly leak urine & feces, cysts, infertility, sepsis, tetanus, complications during childbirth, increased death of both mother & child during childbirth & increased risk of contracting hepatitis b.

In addition to this, FGM is often performed with a dirty razor blade, meaning that HIV infection is common.

Many girls bleed to death before the procedure is even finished.

FGM

Image Credit – Daily Express

FGM has been a growing problem in Europe as the amount of immigrants from African countries has increased. In 1983, France made the practice illegal & have since sent 100 circumcisors & complicit parents to prison.

However, even though FGM was outlawed in the UK in 1985, no prosecutions have been made. It is especially interesting to note that despite this, British hospitals have treated over 3000 victims of FGM since 2013.

Something just doesn’t add up.

‘The trouble with England is that you are very respectful about the traditions of every community that comes to live in your country. In our country it is totally different. We expect our migrants to integrate & obey our laws and traditions,’ says Isabelle Gillette-Faye, head of a French NGO that campaigns against gender-based violence called GAMS (Group for the Abolition of Female Genital Mutilation).

She’s right.

In France, from birth until the age of 6, every child, regardless of ethnic origin, receives free medical check ups & their genitalia are examined. After age 6, doctors, teachers & health visitors are told to be extra vigilant about children whose background puts them at risk. Parents who take their children out of school to countries where cutting is rife are warned that they will be prosecuted if the girl returns with anything missing.

Leftists assert that it is discriminatory to only check girls from high-risk countries, inferring that they are at no more risk of cutting than the general population, but ample evidence suggests otherwise.

It may also raise eyebrows to even suggest that children should have their genitalia examined. Such a procedure would no doubt be classified as abuse in the UK, but an annual examination by a female nurse working for the local health authority is surely preferable to putting girls at risk of such a serious crime, which falls under the criminal offence of ‘willful, grievous bodily harm.’

FGM

Image Credit – Freethought Nation

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born activist, author & former Dutch politician, agrees that routine examinations are the way to go if we are to end FGM in the West, saying that ‘without compulsory screening, there is no effective way of preventing genital mutilation,’ & that ‘the consequences of genital mutilation are so inimical to the well-being of the child that the government should give priority to its duty to act to protect someone from harm.’

However, despite David Cameron asserting that ‘it is absolutely clear about what we are trying to achieve […] & that is to outlaw the practices of female genital mutilation & childhood & early forced marriage, to outlaw them everywhere, for everyone in this generation,’ & despite the FGM act being updated in 2003, making it illegal for a British National to be mutilated in any country, we have still yet to see any progress.

FGM

Image Credit – IB Times UK

There has only ever been one case of FGM brought to trial in a British court & it was dismissed in less than 30 minutes. Dr. Dharmasena was accused of committing FGM after he was delivering a baby & discovered that the woman had been stitched up as a child. He undid the stitches to allow her to give birth, but then stitched her back up to prevent her from bleeding to death.

Of course, Dr. Dharmasena was just a scapegoat, someone for the government to point to & shrill that ‘of course we’re doing something! Look!’ but the reality is that it is inexplicable why we have no prosecutions compared to France’s 100.

What is the point of France performing annual examinations, educating school children about FGM & having highly publicised trials, when families wishing to inflict FGM on their girls can just catch the Euro Star to London & have the operation performed in a dingy block of flats with a rusty pair of scissors?

This tolerance allows the abuse to continue taking place behind closed doors. This barbaric practice may be prohibited by law, but due to the private nature of the abuse, it is easy to turn a blind eye. Hirsi Ali sums up the problem perfectly when she says that ‘If children had their noses, or part of their ears cut off, the government would not be able to get away with its policy of passive tolerance.’

FGM

Image Credit: The Counter Jihad Report

   Hopefully, as more people are made aware of the horrors of FGM, we will begin to see some real change. A new law has made it mandatory for workers in health, education & social sectors to report any instances of FGM they find to the police, so with any luck, we will see perpetrators finally being brought to justice and the process to end FGM in Britain will be underway.

Not only that, but with prominent activists such as Leyla Hussein campaigning tirelessly to end FGM in the UK & the City Academy Bristol producing a film, The Silent Scream, which ‘highlights the tensions in a migrant family when an older daughter tries to persuade her parents not to cut her younger sister,’ we are slowly being forced to open our eyes to the brutality that is FGM.

FGM is not just a ‘foreign problem.’

It is not a ‘Muslim problem.’

It is our problem.

FGM

Leyla Hussein. Image Credit – CBC

Further Reading

The Caged Virgin – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The War on Women – Sue Lloyd-Roberts

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