Monday, 18 March 2013

Female Genital Mutilation and Educators

There’s a saying in my language. ”Being ignorant is like being dead”, and it’s true. Since starting my campaign to end Female Genital mutilation, I have realised there is ignorance in parts of the chain and unless this is addressed from above- political leaders down to community leaders and health workers ,the curse of Female Genital Mutilation will always be  haunting us. Recent research has shown that since 11-15 year old girls often resist FGM, some parents are now seeking to mutilate toddlers.  Remember, even when the trans-Atlantic slave trade was in its dying days, owners always found loop holes in the system.
You have to pardon me for going ahead of myself. We have not reached the dying days of FGM. We are just starting and more work is needed in raising awareness alone, before we can even begin to expect governments to legislate. We are a long way from making big enough numbers of people aware of the evil consequences of female genital mutilation which is why those in influential positions should support the call to end FGM. Let’s talk about it rather than say ‘’O it is embarrassing!’’ Why should we be embarrassed by our bodies? Sex is used to sell cars, chocolates, perfume etc so why be embarrassed by talking about something we know is wrong?  Just a little research I carried out in Oxford suggested that not many people seem to know what FGM is. Most (both men and women) said to me, ‘I have never heard of such a thing’. Yes I know what you are thinking. There are many evil practices that take place in different parts of the world but that does not stop us from taking action when we know (figures from WHO) that between 100 and 140 million girls and women have undergone this unnecessary procedure and a further 2 million girls are at risk each year. This is not just an issue that concerns Africa where 28 countries practice FGM but also the Middle East, Asia and among immigrant communities in Europe, Australia ,New Zealand , the United States of America and Canada et al.
Where do we start? What do we think of the women who could take their girls to be mutilated? Is it ignorance, or is it that they are bound by the shackles of culture? When TB was rife everyone knew the dangers (from uneducated village people of developing countries to bespectacled professors in Universities), yet, excepting those who have gone through it, FGM is a mystery to all but a few campaigners and activists.
It’s time to educate. And its time we took a hard look at what is going on around us rather than ignore the unspeakable because its happening to “ them”, not “us’’

Let’s say NO TO FGM!




  1. Completely agree Abigail! Well said. This horrendous practice must stop.

    1. Thanks Paula. We will keep on shouting and it will stop