close hide page

Archive for April, 2018

Doctors, nurses and teachers ‘still fear raising alarm over FGM’

Doctors, nurses and teachers are still nervous of being branded racist if they speak to families about female genital mutilation, a leading researcher said.

Professor Hazel Barrett, an expert in FGM, has developed an app to give professionals the confidence to flag up their concerns if they think a girl is at risk of being cut. She said that despite campaigns, many professionals are still unaware of their legal responsibilities, nervous about how to broach the issue, and concerned about being called racist and rejected by communities they work with.

Professor Barrett, professor of development geography at Coventry University, said: “If they live within these communities or come from these communities they fear they might be stigmatised or rejected. She said: “We have made progress, certainly over the last three or four years, with more awareness training given to professionals. But there is still a long way to go.”

FGM is a barbaric practice which risks vulnerable lives

The custom is cloaked in the lie of attaining womanhood when in reality, it takes it away

It is a barbaric practice that has no roots in religion and can cause unimaginable suffering and even death in its victims. Yet female genital mutilation, or FGM, is still widely practised throughout this region and in Africa and Asia. The charity Unicef estimates 200 million women in 30 countries, including Yemen, Indonesia and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, underwent the procedure in 2016. In the Arab world, Egypt has one of the world’s highest rates of genital mutilation, with an estimated nine in 10 women undergoing an operation, despite the practice being outlawed in 2008. Among them was 17-year-old Manar Moussa, who died in Cairo in 2016 when she was under anaesthesia for the surgery.

It’s time to stop tiptoeing around FGM, says Leyla Hussein

In today’s world, the girl child is the most vulnerable, and female genital mutilation (FGM) is one of the cruellest practices and forms of discrimination against girls and women. There are 200-million women in the world that have been victims of FGM, of which 92-million are in Africa. Each year three million girls are at risk on the continent. Every 11 seconds a girl will be cut.

Herself a victim of the practice, gender rights activist Leyla Hussein believes it’s time to call it what it is. Hussein was one of the speakers at the recent Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) in Johannesburg.

“I thought I had escaped the wort trauma of FGM but, after a routine examination, I blacked out. It was only then that I understood that I had blocked out the trauma of what had happened to me. I was cut with 200 million other women, purely because we are women. We need to call it for what it is.”

Breaking the cycle

She took on the role of breaking the cycle and to protect girls from this practice. “FGM is an attack on female sexuality and part of a war on female sexuality that also includes other forms of discrimination against women, such as child marriages and unequal pay for men and women.”

For her, language is very important in this work. “FGM is not a cultural or religious practice, it is child abuse. A cultural practice is the food we eat and music we listen to. Harming or abusing a human being is not cultural and we need to speak about it not as cultural but as abuse.”