Archive for June, 2021

Why does FGM happen and where is it legal?

EastEnders has tackled many controversial topics in its history, and now it is bravely addressing the practice of FGM – female genital mutilation.

Mila Marwa has opened up on the show as she worries that her younger sister is to receive the same treatment she got as a child.

This is a very real issue many women face: UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women living in 30 countries—27 African countries, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen—have undergone the procedures.

What are the reasons for FGM?

The NHS explain that there are no health benefits to FGM and it can cause serious harm, including:

  • constant pain
  • pain and difficulty having sex
  • repeated infections, which can lead to infertility
  • bleeding, cysts and abscesses
  • problems peeing or holding pee in (incontinence)
  • depression, flashbacks and self-harm
  • problems during labour and childbirth, which can be life threatening for mother and baby

The reasons why some cultures or communities practice FGM is more to do with societal norms, attitudes and beliefs.

The practice is rooted in controlling women’s sexuality and attempts to ‘preserve’ a woman’s purity.  

What is FGM? What are the different types?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed. It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting, and by other terms, such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan.

There are four main examples of FGM:

  • type 1 (clitoridectomy) – removing part or all of the clitoris
  • type 2 (excision) – removing part or all of the clitoris and the inner labia (with or without removal of the labia majora)
  • type 3 (infibulation) – narrowing the vaginal opening by creating a seal, formed by cutting and repositioning the labia
  • other harmful procedures to the female genitals, including pricking, cutting, scraping or burning the area

Domestic abuse: Where to get help and how to make a silent 999 call

Yasmin Khan, the Welsh Government’s advisor for domestic abuse advises what help is available for victims

If you are a victim of domestic violence in Wales, or are concerned about a friend or loved one, there are many ways to receive help, advice and support.

On Tuesday, ITV Wales detailed how the daughters of a woman who was murdered by her partner have described the pain of watching their mother become a “helpless” victim of domestic abuse.

An estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years – 2.3 million people – experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

  • What is domestic abuse?

Police forces across Wales describe domestic abuse as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

This can also include honour-based abuse and forced marriage.

South Wales Police said: “Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background.

“If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it’s likely you’re a victim of domestic abuse.”

  • How to get help if you are a victim of domestic abuse:

Anyone who is immediate danger is advised to call 999. If they are unable to speak, the ‘Silent Solution system’ enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, when prompted by the call handler, to press 55 to inform police they are in a genuine emergency.

Whilst the police will not be able to track your mobile phone’s location by pressing 55 during the phone call, it will let the phone operator know that this is not a hoax call and you will be put through to the police.

If you call 999 from a landline, the Silent Solution system is not used as it is less likely that 999 calls are made by accident.

Many services have online chat or text messaging services if you are unable to speak on the phone.

Victims can walk into pharmacies across the UK using the code word ‘ANI’ and will be offered a quiet and private space by a member of staff who can support them;

The Help Hand signal – the signal is performed by holding one hand up with the thumb tucked into the palm, then folding the four other fingers down, symbolically trapping the thumb in the rest of the fingers.

https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2021-05-25/domestic-abuse-where-to-get-help-and-how-to-make-a-silent-999-call

Saira Khan: ‘Growing up, I thought domestic abuse was part of our culture and normal’

When I was thrust into the media spotlight after being on The Apprentice in 2005, I vowed to use my platform to talk about life growing up in Britain.

From a young age I felt that while I was British – born and educated here – I was not represented.

At times, it felt like Asian matters were dealt with by unelected community leaders, while the rest of the population was accounted for by laws and MPs.

Many women like me, who try to straddle two distinct cultures, see and experience things that others never do – arranged marriages, forced marriages, child brides, cultural control.

Many come here from places like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, with no knowledge of the language, and are forced to be dutiful maids at the mercy of the families they have been married into

This is a generalisation but, from what I saw growing up, it was a regular norm. That is my truth.

Some people accuse me of only highlighting negative stories from the South Asian culture.

The trolls come out in force, some issuing death threats, in the hope I will just shut up.

But I have always made a stand for the women in my community because so many can’t speak up.

They don’t know who to talk to without feeling judged. And they could be ­ostracised – or killed – for dishonouring their families.

The guilt bestowed upon Asian women from birth is indescribable. You learn to live with it but that guilt shapes every aspect of your life.

And it keeps the misogyny alive.

MPs don’t want to discuss the abuse in case they’re accused of being racist. But silence results in innocent women being abused, violated and murdered.

I grew up thinking it was acceptable for men to shout at women and that hitting is part of our culture and normal.

It isn’t. It’s domestic abuse and there are laws in this country to protect us from it.

We need this message to infiltrate all communities in Britain.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/saira-khan-growing-up-thought-24211502

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