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Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

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Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by novakb on Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:55 am

First topic message reminder :

Last night, my Twitter timeline came alive during Newsnight due to a report about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). You can watch it here (skip to 19:46m): [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

So many people were horrified by the fact that 90% of Egyptian women have suffered FGM. This informative article [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] gives the rates for many other countries: for instance, it's 97% in Somalia too.

No woman can listen to stories of FGM without wincing and imaging the excruciating pain both during the procedure - and ever after. Periods, sex and childbirth are all made unnecessarily and avoidably painful. And I'm sure many men would baulk at seeing how painful it is for a woman. I even remember seeing an earlier film report interviewing a few younger Somali men (ones who lived in Europe, I think) who said that they wanted their wives and girlfriends to enjoy sex (like Western women), not to have to fear the pain of it.

Women suffer health complications, and even death, from how FGM is carried out (which is why it is nothing like male circumcision). Ironically, as bans have been introduced, the procedure has gone more underground, meaning it is done by people with no clinical training. The practice seems to be about tradition and notions of women's 'purity', rather than have any religious basis, and it's done to young girls - their fear and pain and shame is unimaginable.

With anything so culturally ingrained, the forces that continue the practice are both subtle and powerful. There's no doubt that older generations of women continue the practice, misguidedly thinking that this is in their daughters' best interests.

What disturbs me is that there are no doubt girls and women on my own doorstep (e.g. in the Somali community living in Bristol) who have suffered FGW. I remember being very affected by the story of one girl who was sent back 'home' over the summer holidays (a long enough time to 'recover') and returned to school in September cowed, nervous and in constant discomfort. This is not unusual apparently. I hear that people are also brought over to the UK to carry out FGM.

An estimated 20,000 girls in the UK are at risk of FGM. This makes it a child protection issue here in the UK.

How can we help break the cycle? There are organisations working with these communities: The Orchid Project [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and Desert Flower [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and Daughters of Eve [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] among others.

It's a difficult and painful subject (in every sense of the word), but I urge you to get informed and make a noise about this devastating, crippling and unnecessary practice.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:06 pm

Hands up if you've completed the Form.

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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by snowyflake on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:20 pm

Well done, OW Smile I knew there was a heart in there somewhere. Hopefully others will donate to a worthy cause as well.

I'm proud of you.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by ROB on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:58 am

 

Excellent.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:25 pm

Now, here's a funny thing ..

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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Ivan on Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:13 pm

Why did the first prosecution for female genital mutilation take almost 30 years?
 
Extracts from an article by Sarah Ditum:-
 
“Legislation outlawing FGM was introduced in 1985. No prosecutions followed. In 2003, an amendment made it illegal to perform FGM on a UK national or UK permanent resident in any territory. Again, no prosecutions followed – until last Friday, when it was announced that Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed (both of London) would be the first.

How could it have taken almost 30 years? The legislation has too many gaps….getting any testimony at all can be incredibly hard. FGM is usually arranged by close family members of the victim, and children are rarely eager to implicate their own parents. The girls most at risk of FGM are from North African families, and their immigration status may not be clear enough to allow prosecution under the current law: it would be very difficult to prove that UK law has jurisdiction over an act that may have been committed by a foreign national against a foreign national in a foreign territory. FGM is very difficult to age….it’s still possible for people to say this was done in 2001 or 2000, when it wouldn’t have fitted within the most recent legislation. There’s an ongoing failure to educate girls about their rights…..those that are pro-FGM often know more about the law than the people who should looking after the girls that are at risk.

The aim of ending FGM in a generation once seemed absurdly ambitious: now, thanks to the joint efforts of campaigners, public servants and politicians (notably Lynne Featherstone MP and Jane Ellison MP), it seems not just possible but even plausible.”
 

For the whole article (and the inevitable racist reader comments that any attempt to discuss this harrowing topic incites):-
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by boatlady on Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:39 am

This is just a really difficult issue to discuss - the correspondent who wanted the practice looked at under child protection legislation seemed to have the best, least judgemental approach - otherwise, the whole issue gets tangled up in racist/anti-racist, feminist/anti-feminist rhetoric and becomes a blaming exercise.

If we could just agree that any form of abuse of any child is wrong, that might show the way to reach a working consensus on this topic.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Penderyn on Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:36 pm

boatlady wrote:If we could just agree that any form of abuse of any child is wrong, that might show the way to reach a working consensus on this topic.
 
The  problem is going to be gender equality.   It will lead us into conflict with much more powerful forces than people with primitive folk customs.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Ivan on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:18 pm

As soon as Sarah Ditum's article appeared on the ‘New Statesman’ website, the racists started crawling out of the woodwork. By the time that I made a posting, "Muslim paedophile gangs" had been raised three times by different posters. Not "Catholic paedophile priests", not even "US Republican Christians who want the death penalty for teenagers who defy their parents", and certainly not "Tory paedophile ring at the heart of Thatcher’s government with links to Savile and royalty". No, just an insidious attempt to use a barbaric custom of some Muslims to smear all of them with child abuse.
 
I don’t like any religions, but I accept the right of others to swallow absurdities if they so wish (even the right of millions of people to believe the far-fetched notion that the Tories have our best interests at heart). However, I do believe that cruelty towards anyone, and especially towards children, must be vehemently opposed and should override any religious or cultural sensitivities. (I include in that the circumcision of very young boys for anything other than medical reasons.) If people of either sex wish to have their bodies mutilated in line with ancient religious or social customs, it should be for them to decide once they become adults, and if in opposing child abuse we set off the racists, that’s a separate issue which must be met with reasoned argument. There is no room for consensus on this subject, FGM must be stamped out.
 
"To keep silent when we should protest makes cowards of men." (Abraham Lincoln)
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FGM developments in the UK

Post by Hilary Burrage on Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:00 pm

Whilst FGM continues to be 'news' for a whole lot of reasons, there has actually been quite a lot of work done on it in the UK as well as elsewhere.  Some of the interesting debates can be found on the LinkedIn group, Combatting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Information, reports and research.  

There is currently a parliamentary inquiry going on into why FGM hasn't been properly addressed by the law and police.  My submission to that inquiry is here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] I would be interested to learn other people's views on the issues raised, eg


  • Do we need formal mandatory reporting?  
    Should children be examined?  (and till what age?)
    Is the NSPCC reporting line adequate to the task?
    How can we know what the real numbers of girls and women in the UK with FGM are?
    Is it possible to reconstruct what has been damaged by FGM?  (And who should do it?)
    What is the role of the Local safeguarding Children Board in each local authority or borough?


Also, I see FGM as the ultimate in ways to perpetuate patriarchy (pl see [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Would others agree that this is crucial to how it is approached?
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:49 am

Hilary, just a couple of brief thoughts as I swing out the door. I will come back to this later.
Local Childrens Safeguarding Boards should in my view be central to the enforcement of the law on this topic and to providing and inseminating training to other professions - as the local agency responsible for coordinating a response to child abuse issues this is an obvious starting point ; however, while working in the field I was never offered any training on this topic, although living and working within an increasingly multi-ethnic community, nor do I ever recall FGM being considered as a possibility within Child Protection conferences - maybe, rather than changes to the law, which as I think you have said is currently more or less sufficient, there needs to be training at trainee social worker and trainee health visitor and midwife level, combined with a concerted effort to reach Local Safeguarding Boards and get this topic on the agenda - a similar process, as I recall, was used to get child sexual abuse on the agenda back in the day.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Hilary Burrage on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:48 am

Boatlady: Yes! Couldn't agree more, on all counts!! I have tried to emphasise the training and co-ordinated response pathway issues whenever I write / speak about FGM, but it seems many are not listening.... most likely because they haven't ever had to actually cope with the immediate situation of 'whatever shall I do???' themselves.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Hilary Burrage on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:54 am

PS NEWS ON FGM (UK and global), free and easy to access, every day:
A while ago I set up an very easy-to-use #NoFGM Daily Newsletter, which picks up any item / information on Twitter or FaceBook which is tagged / contains the latters 'FGM'.
It's free and no obligations, and can be accessed here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] -
all you need to do, to receive it, is enter your preferred email address in the box...  Hope that will be useful for all with a concern re this horrific blight on women and girls.

Also, obviously, you can 'add' your own news items simply by putting them on twitter or FB with the appropriate tag; and next day that news will be included in the listing.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:17 am

"... if in opposing child abuse we set off the racists ..."

It doesn't take much of an excuse to set off those sort of people. I went on one of my rare lunchtime visits to the pub yesterday and there were three well-to-do middle-aged blokes talking at the bar. Most of the talk was about ' Indian bastards' and other immigrants but, had I stayed longer, FGM would probably have made it into their conversation.

 I hope they didn't think I was rude for saying out loud that we seemed to have a Daily Mail Convention in and for not saying goodbye to them when I left...      Crying or Very sad
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Ivan on Thu May 01, 2014 4:18 pm

Zero-tolerance on FGM doesn’t have to be an attack on multiculturalism
 
Extracts from an article by Reema Patel:-
 
We often refrain from a deeper conversation about why FGM is practised. It isn’t enough to say we are going to prosecute those who practise FGM, because by then the damage – physical, psychological and social – has already been inflicted. We need to prevent it from happening and that means, alongside a zero-tolerance attitude and stringently enforced law, prevention measures in place that recognise this is a risk. It means striking a fine and precarious balance between working within communities where FGM is prevalent and introducing and enforcing measures to show that FGM has no place in a democratic society.

It also means stopping the debate about FGM from becoming an 'anti-multiculturalism' debate or a pretext for propagating racism – securing a position for FGM as an issue that lies firmly at the heart of a wider discourse about empowering women across all cultures. Dexter Dias QC has said: “If this government is serious about protecting young girls, it must also protect the communities they come from from racial slurs.”

The problem is that many on both sides of the debate feel they have to pick a side. That supporting multiculturalism is somehow inconsistent with supporting rights for minorities, including women. But we know that cultures are not as fixed and unchanging as powerful advocates within them may like to make out – they shape themselves to the conditions around them, to social and economic imperatives, and they often liberalise rapidly in new worlds and environments.

 
For the whole article:-
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by oftenwrong on Thu May 01, 2014 5:41 pm

".... a pretext for propagating racism ..."

Racists will hang their hat on any convenient hook. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by Ivan on Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:06 pm

74% of people in Denmark think that male genital mutilation should be restricted or banned altogether. Between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark each year, mostly on Muslim and Jewish boys.

Last year, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution opposing all kinds of ritual circumcision, saying they cast a "moral stain" and "foster hate and racist trends in Europe".

About 9% of men in the UK are circumcised. There is much disagreement around the world over the medical impacts of the practice.

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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by stuart torr on Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:09 pm

Why is the practice of circumcision not out in the open in this country like it is in other countries? or the dangers of it when the muslims have it done to their boys at such a young age?
Also the female genital mutilation, which is such a disgusting practice, is it not?
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by boatlady on Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:17 am

I've heard circumcision defended on the grounds of hygiene - I believe there is some statistical evidence that cervical cancer incidence is reduced if a woman's sexual partner is circumcised.

Aesthetically, too, I think there's a lot to be said for it - definitely looks neater.

But I'm not sure either of these is a good reason to mutilate baby boys
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation - horrifying and widespread, despite bans

Post by stuart torr on Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:23 am

Definitely not a good reason to mutilate baby boys boatlady well IMHO anyway.
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