Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Are You At Risk Or Know Someone At Risk From Female Genital Mutilation?

Female Genital Mutilation

In the UK, it is estimated that up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation. Across government work is taking place top tackle this cruel and brutal practice.

Find out about the illegal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and advice on what to do if you are worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

The facts about female genital mutilation

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. It is mostly carried out on young girls sometimes between infancy and age 15 years.
  • In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • It is illegal to practice FGM in the UK.

The law

The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004. The act:

  • makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK
  • makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
  • makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad
  • has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and, or, a fine

Multi-agency guidelines

The government has launched new guidelines to support front-line professionals such as teachers, health professional, police officers and social workers to prevent and tackle FGM.

The guidelines:

  • explains the complex issues around female genital mutilation
  • identify the signs that girls and women may be at risk or who are dealing with the consequences of FGM
  • set out the actions that professionals should take, often in conjunction with other agencies, to protect girls and women and offer them the support they need

What are the signs that a may be at risk of FGM?

Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. These include knowing that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised and is making preparations for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school. The child may also talk about a 'special procedure/ceremony' that is going to take place.

Girls are at particular risk of FGM during summer holidays. This is the time when families may take their children abroad for the procedure. Many girls may not be aware that they may be at risk of undergoing FGM.

UK communities that are most at risk of FGM include kenyans, Somalis, Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans, Egyptians, Nigerians and Eritireans. However women from non-African communities that are at risk of FGM include Yemeni, Kurdish, Indonesian and Pakistani women.

If you have concerns that a girl or young women may be taken overseas for FGM then please contact the FCO on 0207 008 1500 or email fgm@fco.gov.uk

You should also call:

  • Your local children's services or local safeguarding children's board
  • Your local police child protection unit
  • The NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
  • FORWARD on 020 8960 4000

Indicators that FGM may have taken place

Indicators that FGM may already have occurred include prolonged absence from school, noticeable behaviour change on return and long periods away from classes or other normal activities, possibly with bladder or menstrual problems. Some teachers have described how children find it difficult to sit still and look uncomfortable or may complain of pain between their legs.

You must report your concerns to the police and to children's services.

We recommend you also call FORWARD (Opens in a new window) as they provide support, counseling and safe space for girls and women to talk about their experiences. They can also educates and work with families to prevent FGM happening to any other girls in the family. There are also specialist health services (Opens in a new window) available to women who have undergone FGM. Home Office

Please 'recommend this on Google.'

Footnote: Little wonder this country is in the state it is, if this is the best the Home Office can do for spelling and typos. See original.


Anonymous said...

The day I saw 248 girls suffering genital mutilation by Abigail Haworth.


Midwives wait for the next girl to be brought in for circumcision in Bandung, Indonesia.

Inside, I was greeted by Hdjella, 57, a teacher and midwife who would supervise the cutting. She was wearing a pink floral apron with a frilly pocket. She had been a traditional midwife for 32 years, she said, although, like most dukun, she had no formal training.

"Boy or girl?" she asked me, brightly. I was almost six months pregnant at the time.

"Boy," I told her.

"Praise Allah."

Hdjella insisted that the form of FGM they practised is "helpful to girls' health". She explained that they clean the genitals and then use sterilised scissors to cut off part of the hood, or prepuce, and the tip of the clitoris.

"How is this helpful to girls' health?" I asked. "It balances their emotions so they don't get sexually over-stimulated," she said, enunciating in schoolmistress fashion. "It also helps them to urinate more easily and reduces the bad smell."

Any other benefits? "Oh yes," she said, with a tinkling laugh. "My grandmother always said that circumcised women cook more delicious rice."

Hdjella, 57, a teacher and midwife!


Last month I spoke to Andy Yentriyani, a commissioner at Indonesia's National Commission on Violence Against Women. Yentriyani told me the problem is now worse than ever. Since the government's guidelines on FGM came into effect last year, more hospitals have started offering the procedure.

"Doctors see the guidelines as a licence to make money," she says. "Hospitals are even offering female circumcision in parts of Sumatra where there has never been a strong tradition of cutting girls."

"They are creating new demand purely for profit?"

"Yes. They're including it in birth packages. People don't really understand what they're signing up for." Nor do some medical staff, she adds. The new guidelines say doctors should "make a small cut on the frontal part of the clitoris, without harming the clitoris". But Yentriyani says that most doctors are trained only in male circumcision, so they follow the same principle of slicing off flesh.

Moreover, according to The Jakarta Post, the guidelines were rushed through partly in response to the deaths of several infant girls from botched FGM procedures at hospitals.

Anonymous said...

CPS to crack down on female genital mutilation

Crown Prosecution Service announces action plan to tackle problem of offence for which there has never been a conviction.

The Labour MP Diane Abbott said: "I really welcome this. The issue has lurked in the shadows for too long, and I think it's got to be brought into mainstream consciousness more. About 20,000 children in England and Wales are deemed 'at risk' every year. The situation is similar in France, yet whereas some 100 parents and practitioners of this have been convicted in France, there has never been a single prosecution in the UK. I think many of the people who are affected by this are voiceless and unprotected, and we've got to do more to understand it."


Himself said...



Anonymous said...


Have you noticed that in spite of Jimmy Savile having been front page news for weeks now, pretty much nothing else of major substance has been revealed. And lets face it, the Savile saga wasn’t news to many of us in the first place.

Well spotted.

Jimmy Savile "a piece of street theatre to confuse the issue"?

It takes hard work, behind the scenes.

Perhaps a few words of gratitude to the workers we do not see. For instance, Kate McCann, the opposing paedophiles activist http://bit.ly/tUqWOT.

Kate is currently working really hard really, bringing fresh eyes to Raymond Hewlett to ensure nothing has been missed.

Coincidentally, he’s dead, too.

Himself said...

Coincidentally, he’s dead, too.

Something to be said for that.

Anonymous said...

"I will never forget that day. My mother woke me up very early in the morning and told me firmly to get ready for circumcision," says 13-year-old Ahlam, her surname withheld to protect her identity.

"Immediately an old woman entered the room and got a razor out of her bag. My mother held my arms very tight so that I could not move. The woman used her razor to circumcise me. I cried loudly but nobody listened, the pain was unbearable. After all was done, my mom paid her some money and she left. A few hours later, I started to bleed."


Anonymous said...

Johnson-Agbakwu explained that there is a public policy debate over what we label "genital modification" in the United States. While FGC among African communities is considered a human rights violation, vaginal rejuvenation among American adult woman is viewed as a personal cosmetic choice.


As for under-aged girls: human rights violation.

As for adult women: her body, her choice.

As for my opinion (on both types of adult women): batshit crazy.

Himself said...

Morning Chuck, you're getting there, batshit crazy indeed.

It was later, giving thought to my own feelings on article, that I decided, when it comes to FGM, I'm truly bigoted.

I don't want to read about the "Pro" stance and all the cultural blah blah. FGM is an abomination, nothing less.

And that's the way I'm staying.


Ain't that cute of her. I think Teddy might send her a rose.

Thank you for all the linkies Maren, just a couple more to open.

Anonymous said...

OT, but with regard to public policy debate over what we label "genital modification".


What began as a wander through the wacky world of genital plastic surgery became a passionate documentary about modern femininity, The Perfect Vagina.

I haven’t seen the documentary, only read some comments.

O.K...let's be frank..there is no ugly vagina...that stated, if you are a girl that feels like you should have your labia cut off, think again, if your boy friend or hubby thinks it is ugly, get another boyfriend or hubby. If you are comparing yours to your friends and you have wings and she doesn't then count your self lucky, don't go under the knife. I ran across a girl that had 3 levels of folds that looked like a bat when it spread out. I realized then that her beauty ran more than skin deep and that each and every one are different and lovely. Trust me my lady's we love all of you and your particular differences. If you were all the same....wow...how boring. Celebrate your difference and love your body...don't cut it off.

Dave Whitla
I am dumbfounded by the degree to which so many women, young girls particularly, are insecure about their appearance. Absolutely dumbfounded.
Often I hear people lament that these girls seek surgery to please men rather than themselves. But I have to ask - what men told them they were ugly?
Girls seem to obsess over their appearance to the extent that they project some completely self-conjured expectations upon the men in their world.
If you are so concerned about what men might think why haven't you asked any? I am 38 and in my entire life have yet to meet another man who would find ANY vagina undesirable. Seriously - WTF?

A vagina is like a Van Gogh painting,
it gets lot of attention.
A weapon so powerful
It can break a man down to his lowest point
it has a language of all its own.
Stop obsessing ladies
You are perfect just the way you are.
All vaginas are beautiful !!

Robert Barraza
LOL!! I can't believe this is real. The "Perfect" Vagina? A "perfect" vagina is one that is STD free! ahaha

Himself said...

I haven’t seen the documentary,

No me neither, although I did notice it previously.

As for the comments, I agree wholeheartedly. I have never seen one that I didn't want to go down on.


Anonymous said...

Overwhelming opposition to female genital mutilation/cutting, yet millions of girls still at risk: UNICEF


Anonymous said...

The UNICEF report finds through surveys that not only are most girls and women against the practice, but that a significant number of men and boys also oppose FGM/C. In three countries, Chad, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, more men than women want the practice to end.