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Archive for February, 2016

‘I thought this is how a virgin is meant to look’: Female genital mutilation victim whose vagina was stitched up – and the ‘blade woman’ who cuts 30 girls a day

Mariam Doumbia didn’t realise there was anything wrong until she was 22.

She just thought it was how unmarried girls who had never had sex ‘looked’. Then she saw a picture of a woman who had been circumcised – her clitoris cut out, her labia cut off and her vagina sewn up – and knew, in that moment, she had been mutilated. ‘Up until that point, I thought I was normal,’ the 23-year-old said. ‘I thought it was how virgins looked.’

In another part of Mali, a woman sits grabs her granddaughter to better explain her point, taking a fold in the young girl’s underwear between two fingers.

‘I spread their legs and hold the clitoris between my two fingers and cut the tip of it, and it’s all over in a jiffy,’ she says, proudly.

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British Museum accused of ‘celebrating’ FGM by displaying cutter’s mask

Campaigners against female genital mutilation have accused the British Museum of “celebrating” the practice by holding an exhibition about a mask used by cutters in Sierra Leone.

The museum displayed a Sowei mask, which is worn by members of the Sande society — a women’s association in Sierra Leone which prepares girls for adult life. This has traditionally included FGM.

To mark the launch of the exhibition the museum also hosted an event where the dance performed during FGM ceremonies was recreated.

Survivors of FGM living in London said they still suffer flashbacks to the mask, which they said is used at the end of cutting ceremonies in Sierra Leone to terrorise young girls into keeping quiet about their ordeal.

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New video shows impact of forced marriage

The Forced Marriage Unit has released a new film to demonstrate the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families.

Timed to coincide with the October half term – school holidays are always high risk period – the hard hitting film builds upon the Government’s world-leading work to tackle the issue at home and abroad.

The aim of the film is to raise public awareness of the impact of forced marriage, and warn of the criminal consequences of involvement, building on the outreach and education work of the FMU. Told from the perspective of a victim’s older brother, who is complicit in arranging her forced marriage but unaware of its true impact until it is too late, the film represents the first time the FMU have directly targeted family members.

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Improving Services, Safeguarding and Meeting the National Reporting Requirement for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Improving Services, Safeguarding and Meeting the National Reporting Requirement for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Tuesday 10th May 2016, London

Chaired by Vanessa Lodge, Chair of the National FGM Steering Group at NHS England, this conference looks at improving services, safeguarding, and meeting the national reporting requirements for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Through national updates, extended sessions and case studies the conference will look at your obligations with regard to reporting FGM, safeguarding those at risk of FGM, and providing effective services for victims of FGM. 

For further information and to book your place visit

A 20% discount is currently available by quoting ref: hcuk20halo

Follow the conference on Twitter @HUCK_Clare #FGM2016

Bristol police successfully apply for FGM protection orders

Avon and Somerset Police have this week become the latest force in the country to aid the prevention and ending of female genital mutilation (FGM) by seizing the passports of three girls who were travelling abroad from Bristol as soon-to-be victims of the practice.

Bristol police confiscated the documents and applied for female genital mutilation protection orders (FGMPOs) for the girls under legislation implemented in July 2015. The action follows on from this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM (which falls annually on 6 February), and comes just a fortnight before Bristol-based charity Integrate holds its annual conference which will focus on a wide range of issues including radicalisation and the importance of ending FGM. It also comes three weeks before FORWARD, a charity which focuses on the ideology of communities working together to help achieve their vision of a safe world in which women can live with dignity and equality, will hold a conference in Bristol marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM and addressing the significance of ending FGM both within the city and further afield.

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Birmingham Central Mosque DID hear forced marriage case says women’s group – days after its denial

Birmingham Central Mosque heard details of a teenager’s horrific forced marriage last year it has emerged – days after trustees denied dealing with any such cases.

The 18-year-old had been ordered to marry her 30-year-old cousin in Pakistan after being repeatedly being beaten by her parents and was warned she would die unless she agreed. But the brave victim later managed to escape the marriage and enlisted the help of the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) to represent her at a Sharia divorce hearing, based at the mosque.

Yet mosque trustees denied dealing with any forced marriage cases this week in a statement defending its under-fire Chairman Muhammad Afzal.

The statement followed a complaint from Shaista Gohir, chair of MWNUK, who said Mr Afzal had denied forced marriages were an issue during a meeting with her group in December. She also alleged he stated more men than women were victims of domestic violence. City councillor Mr Afzal was forced to stand down as Lord Mayor elect on Monday after being caught on tape calling David Cameron an Islamophobe at a protest meeting about Prevent terrorism legislation and planned Ofsted inspections of madrassas.

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Female genital mutilation cases recorded every 96 seconds are ‘tip of the iceberg’

A children’s charity chief executive says the full scale of female genital mutilation in England is only now becoming clear after new figures revealed that a case was reported every 96 minutes last year.

The 5,484 instances of mutilation reported from October 2014 to September 2015 are described as just the “tip of the iceberg”, with many “unseen, unheard cases” never showing up on official statistics.

A Yorkshire police force says it has seen a significant increase in the number of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases recorded since it became mandatory for health, education and social care workers to report incidents in October.

Between 31 October 2015 and 31 January 2016, six reports have been recorded by West Yorkshire Police relating to ten children who had undergone FGM, compared with just one report before October.

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