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Archive for December, 2018

FGM fears grow as number of at-risk or affected UK children doubles

London (CNN)Concerns about female genital mutilation, or FGM, are rising in the UK after the number of children who’ve had the procedure or are at risk of it more than doubled in the past year.

Social workers carrying out assessments in 2017-2018 classified 1,960 children as either having undergone or being at risk of FGM.
The figure marks a sharp rise from the previous year, when 970 cases were identified.
The true number of at-risk children is likely to be far higher, as the practice remains widely under-reported, warned the Local Government Association, or LGA, which analyzed government records for its findings. The LGA did not offer a reason for the apparent increase in at-risk children, but noted that awareness has increased and social workers can identify it quicker than before.
Incidents of child abuse related to faith or belief, including witchcraft and spirit possession, were found to have risen by 12%. Last year, there were 1,630 cases of such abuse, the LGA said, an increase from 1,460 the year before.
The findings demonstrate “the worrying prevalence of FGM, which is ruining lives and destroying communities,” said Anita Lower of the LGA.
“At a time when they should be preparing for adult life and enjoying being young, no girl or young woman should be subject to the horrors of genital mutilation, which is child abuse and cannot be justified for any reason,” Lower added.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, almost 5,000 women and girls in the UK were newly identified as victims of FGM, according to the National Health Service.
Figures of children identified as being at risk were not collected before 2016-2017, so annual rates can only be compared over the past two years.

‘Rejected by my family, raped – but proud to be gay’

Seyeda has been rejected by her family, abused and raped because she is gay – but is determined to be out and proud.

The 42-year-old from Pakistan believes she would have been killed if she had not moved to the UK.

“I can’t even imagine (what would have happened). I don’t think I would be alive there.

“But there is no looking back. If people are harassing me, I need to make myself more strong.”

Seyeda – whose parents died before they discovered her sexuality – was under pressure from an early age to marry a cousin.

“I didn’t want to because I knew of my orientation,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates.

A new report from LGBT domestic abuse charity Galop reveals around one in four of the cases seen by their advocacy service has been abused by family members – while one in ten is at risk of ‘honour-based’ violence or forced marriage.

‘Bad time’

University provided no escape for Seyeda. After a supervisor discovered her sexuality, she says she was forced off her PhD programme, and left without accommodation.

“I didn’t have anywhere to stay,” she explained. “If you are a woman on your own in Pakistan, you can’t live anywhere.

“I have uncles and aunts in Pakistan, and I was begging to stay (with them). But they weren’t ready to (let me) – and I was not ready to get married in the way they wanted me to.

“Once the extended family came to know about my sexuality, I had a bad time.”