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Helping to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK

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Vinnie Moriarty Barron

 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has, until recently, been a hidden problem in our society. But over the last few weeks, the FGM issue has been placed under the media spotlight, as 17 year old Fahma Mohamed campaigned for FGM education to be pushed in schools. [1]
 
FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, most commonly before puberty starts. [2] The procedure is most commonly carried out by women and men with little or no medical training and the girls are normally forcibly restrained.
 
Even though FGM has been illegal in the UK for over 30 years, thousands of girls every year are still being affected by this violent crime. A statistical study undertaken by ‘The European Institute for Gender Equality’ estimated that the ‘number of women resident in England and Wales in 2001 who had been subjected to FGM was 65,790.’ [4] Despite these terrifyingly high UK figures ‘there is yet to be a single prosecution’[3]. This is due to ignorance.
 
People in the UK are not being educated in the subject. We aren’t being told what it is, that it’s illegal, or that it’s even happening here in the UK. The data is not up to date and women are not being checked and reported to the police. France has taken a so called ‘controversial’ approach to the problem, carrying out physical health checks on young women and children and arresting parents if there is any suspicion of FGM. They have almost completely eradicated FGM and are now educating children on the impact it has on women’s lives.

Back in 2009, Mocha were invited to work with the FGM National Clinical Group to produce a resource film with the intention of raising awareness of FGM with the general public and offering training and guidance to healthcare professionals. The project involved filming in-depth interviews with a host of healthcare professionals and FGM specialists from around the world, including Baroness Ruth Rendell, Patron to the FGM National Clinical Group. The project also saw what we believe to be a worldwide ‘first’ – the first time a deinfibulation (FGM reversal) procedure had been filmed.
 
Our work with the FGM National Clinical Group has to go down as one of the most worthwhile contributions we’ve made to the UK and international healthcare community, and is a film we’re particularly proud of having produced. We hope it is helping to make a difference.
 
Raising awareness and providing education to young children is vital for the eradication of FGM in the UK.
 
You can watch the ‘A Healthier Future without FGM’ film here
You can select whether to watch the full healthcare professional version (inc deinfibulation procedure) or the non healthcare professional version.

 
If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by this subject there are a number of ways you can tell someone confidentially and access support:
 
– Call the police, tell your doctor, school nurse, social worker, teacher or nurse.
 
– FGM National Clinical Group
 
– Daughter of Eve (charity who protect girls who are at risk of FGM)
 
– FGM Health Services