Saturday, August 11, 2012

Female Genital Mutilation in Britain

A heart breaking story about FGM: FGM In Britain: One Woman's Fight Against Female Circumcision

Some points to highlight: Many circumcised women don't perceive themselves as "mutilated"; they believe it's normal and they are likely to try to do it to their daughters.

"Back then, she says, everyone thought female genital mutilation was "normal." Every single woman in her family had been, as she calls it, “cut.”"

...

"Some mothers can’t get through their head. I literally have to show them the scars I have on my stomach."

"That is what the FGM has done to me and that is what I use when I talk to women who are going to cut their daughters. They don’t actually believe that anything is wrong with FGM. They really think there’s nothing wrong.

"Women always say ‘it’s been done a lot, it’s been done to my mother, it’s been done to my grandmother, there’s nothing wrong, blah, blah.’ They don’t realise how many girls are suffering."

...

A 2011 report, The Missing Link, says FGM is performed by communities from Somalia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Egypt, Djibouti, and, to a lesser degree, communities in Uganda, Niger, Ghana and Cameroon as well as by some groups in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, as well as Oman and Yemen.

The report says FGM can be seen as a “self-enforcing social convention.”

“Families and individuals continue to do it because they believe that their society expects them to do so” and families fear social consequences such as derision, marginalisation and loss of status.”

...

Ardo says FGM is child abuse, and British authorities who try and stay out of the fight to avoid upsetting different cultures are enabling child abuse.

“To me, if a child is getting abused, and FGM is abuse then you should be talking for that child and forget about the culture and who you are going to upset.

“A lot of people I think don’t do anything about it because they think they’re going to upset a community and that is not right.

...

“Asking for a conviction is wishful thinking,” Ali says. “I just want things to be taken seriously. Those that carry out FGM and believe in FGM will still do it because they know that nothing will happen to them.

...

“I thought it was normal until 1999-2000. I stopped thinking that because I looked at the medical side. That’s when I started thinking to become a nurse.

“It was like, 'oh my God.' A lightbulb went off in my head. It just went ‘bing’ and the more and more I started talking to people I realised it’s wrong.

“That’s when I decided I was going to speak up. If I’m in the park, I’ll talk to girls. If I’m on the bus, I’ll talk to them.

...

“I make it my mission to talk to every single girl. I try to educate them. Because, remember, I can’t stop anybody. You can listen to me and tomorrow go and say no, but I have to really try and make them understand.”

...

I find her whole story amazing. What's been done to her, is done, but she wants it to stop for other generations. I know that some people think that comparing FGM to MGM trivializes FGM, but no, it doesn't. Actually, not comparing them trivializes MGM. It's just that people expect men to "man up", to be tough, to not care. But there are men who care. Everything that I highlighted from the article could be written about MGM in America, just changing girl for boy, and that's what I as intactivist want, to bring awareness and consciousness that men also suffer, that there are collateral damage but that every circumcision of a baby is an unnecessary, dangerous and irresponsible mutilation. I feel that this woman's fight is also my fight, and that the fight is not against MGM or FGM, but about Genital Mutilation and for Genital Integrity of all babies.

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