close hide page

Archive for August, 2014

Playwrights explore trauma and psychological damage of FGM

The poster is stamped with the statement that 137,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of genital mutilation. But for the team behind the play Little Stitches, opening at a London theatre on Friday it is the individual stories behind the statistic that really matter.

The four writers of the play, opening at Theatre503, in Battersea, spent months talking to those affected by FGM, or female genital mutilation, as well as to campaigners, doctors and teachers. Each of the four – Karis Halsall, Raul Quiros Molina, Bahar Brunton and Isley Lynn – used verbatim interviews and accounts to write a piece tackling the issue, and, as the director, Alex Crampton, said, to give FGM a “living breathing presence that makes it hard to ignore”.

The decision to tackle the issue came from Melissa Dean, the founder of BAREtruth theatre company which is staging the play. She said theatre was a powerful vehicle that could break through the taboos and secrecy surrounding FGM and bring real-life stories to an audience who might otherwise be at some distance from the issue.

Read more:

Britain’s first FGM clinic for girls to open in London in September

Britain’s first specialist clinic for child victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) is set to open in London next month.

The clinic, at University College Hospital, will provide medical and psychological treatment for girls.

Doctors will also carry out examinations if the police are not sure if mutilation has occurred.

FGM includes procedures that remove or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility, mental health problems, complications in childbirth and increased risk of death for newborns.


Read More:

Contributing to end child and forced marriage

Our government has recently announced that Canada will contribute additional funding to UNICEF’s efforts to end child and forced marriage. This project will support efforts in six countries where the practice is prevalent: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Yemen and Zambia.
While the concept of forced marriage seems foreign to most Canadians, the truth is that it is common practice in many countries burdened by gender discrimination. It happens, around the world, 39,000 times every day.
The practice of child and forced marriage may be widespread, however the consequences are extremely personal and intensely felt. Child marriage denies children, particularly girls, the right to make choices about their lives. These girls are stripped of their dignity sometimes even before they understand the concept. Dehumanized at a young age, they are often forced to give birth before they are ready to care for children. They are often denied the opportunity to receive education.


Read more:

Australian migrants trapped in ‘slave-like’ marriages

Kanya thought she was starting a new life in Australia after arriving from India to marry her husband, but it quickly turned into a nightmare.

She was barred from going out alone, forced to cook and clean for her partner’s family, and made to sleep outdoors if she did not complete her tasks.

The fate of the 18-year-old, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, mirrors that of others in “slave-like” relationships that Salvation Army worker Jenny Stanger has taken in at a Sydney refuge for trafficked people in recent years.

The women were lured to Australia by the promise of a happy marriage, only to be exploited by their partners.

Read more:

Cosmopolitan and Karma Nirvana Campaign for Day of Remembrance

Cosmopolitan beamed a harrowing and poignant image onto the Royal Opera House to coincide with David Cameron’s Girl Summit, in remembrance of the women killed in the name of honour by their own families.

Cosmopolitan’s campaign, in partnership with Karma Nirvana, are dedicated to supporting victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage and pushed the issue to the top of the political agenda during Cameron’s Girl Summit, which took place on the 22nd July.

It tackled the abuse and oppression of women embedded in certain cultures – both at home and abroad – with a focus on female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

An estimated 5,000 women across the world are killed each year for bringing ‘shame’ upon their families; at least 12 of these victims are British, and the true number is thought to be far higher, as many simply ‘disappear’.

Read more:

Activist filmmaker will shoot controversial movie about child marriage in Bay Ridge

The picture is about a Yemeni girl who is forced to marry an old man and later raped by members of his family. Filmmaker Christhian Andrews hopes to use it as a teaser to raise money from the United Nations for a longer film on forced marriage and child abuse.


It must have been his lucky day.

A filmmaker who was searching for a young actress to star in a potentially controversial and difficult movie ran into the right person at the right time.

Christhian Andrews was literally walking the streets of Bay Ridge last month, approaching Arabic speakers and asking them whether they had a daughter who wanted to be in a movie.

As fate would have it, the second man Andrews approached was Saeed Alabsi, a restaurant worker who spent years working at ADRA International, an agency operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church to provide education, development assistance and disaster relief around the world. “We were very lucky,” said Andrews, 24, who is set to begin filming his picture about a Yemeni girl who is forced to marry an old man and later raped by members of his family, next week.

Alabsi said he took an immediate interest in the project and decided he wanted to help. “I’ve seen this with my own eyes,” said Alabsi, 56, who became sensitive about the issue after seeing girls married to men who were sometimes 60 years their senior.

He went home and told his 15-year-old daughter Nadya, who accepted the lead role in the film. “I want people to get educated,” said Nadya, who came to Brooklyn with her family five months ago from Yemen. “I want people to understand that what they’re doing is wrong.”


Read More: