Stop Female Genital Mutilation

Knives used for FGM photo: Tsp-medientechnik CC

Knives used for FGM photo: Tsp-medientechnik CC

The Senedd, National Assembly building for Wales in Cardiff marks the commemoration for UN International day for Zero Tolerance for FGM today.  

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all the external genitalia of women or girls. The practice is found in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is estimated that around 200 million women in 30 countries, among which African countries account for the largest proportion, had suffered from the practice.

Devices such as knives, razors, scissors, and fingernails,etc. are usually used during the procedures, which are generally performed by a traditional circumciser in the girls’ homes.

According to Bawso (Black Association for Women Step Out), 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK, compared with an estimated 66,000 in 2001.

The precise scale of FGM in the UK is unknown but around 60,000 girls aged 0-14 have been born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM and therefore are at a risk of FGM.

Last year, Bawso supported 600 women and girls at risk of FGM or living with FGM in Cardiff and 693 in Swansea.

2016 race against FGM photo: Bawso CC

2016 race against FGM photo: Bawso CC

Rachel McDonald, survivor and participant in the 2016 Cardiff Half Marathon against FGM says that it is difficult for women and girls to protect themselves from FGM practice, but organisations like Bawso can inform and educate young people and other people in communities.

About the challenges when fighting against FGM, Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone says to CNP that the biggest one is people’s awareness about FGM. “It is completely nonsense that many women and men think that FGM can make a girl pure and clean. And some schools even resisted educating children about the consequences of FGM.”, said Jenny Rathbone.

 

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