Emancipation of Women

The secret statistics of female genital mutilation

instruments are often crude
instruments are often crude It is hard to find out official statistics regarding FGM but it certainly happens and the figures are growing according to the agencies dealing with it. It has been illegal since 1985.This law has been evaded by parents taking their daughters abroad but the 2004 Female Genital Mutilation Act makes this illegal also and punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment.

The then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said he expected to see prosecutions as a result of the new law and that all concerned organisations must: "be brave enough to take it head-on" and "Where doctors come across this kind of mutilation they have a duty to take action in reporting it". To date there has NEVER been a prosecution. Two doctors who offered to perform the operation were merely struck off but subsequently re-instated.

Forward states that about 7,000 girl children in the UK are at risk yet government's flagship policy - 'Every Child Matters - Working Together To Safeguard Children', does not specify FGM as a category of physical abuse to a child. Is this cultural relativity or imperialism? Does the well-being of thousands of small girls really not matter? A stand must be made. This is a procedure which aims to subdue women and make the enforcement of virginity easier to police. It may be practised by people of many religions but especially occurs in Muslim Africa. It can cause a myriad of health problems including incontinence, birth defects and AIDS.

hygiene is basichygiene is basicIf thousands of small girls hobbled up to school with their feet bound or with their lips cut off there would be an uproar. However, FGM is hidden, it's 'their culture' and very little is done. It is unlikely to be eradicated by education because of tight ethnic communities which jealously guard their women and their perceived 'right' to have to arranged marriage. The procedure is barbaric and but, apart from a few cases in France and more recently in the USA, no-one is prosecuted for this sadistic crime. Education and counselling has not worked because no-one has the statistics. Until statistics are available no-one can say that any procedure has been effective.

www.forwarduk.org.uk Ayaan Hirsi Ali (author of Infidel and The Caged Virgin, sufferer from FGM and ex Dutch MP) proposed a screening programme, which was almost accepted by her party in Holland (it subsequently felt unable to risk the backlash from fundamentalist Muslims) as the only procedure that she could see would work.France does do this.

Doctors/carers or others who perform this mutilation must be convicted of child abuse and grievous bodily harm in test cases to deter others. It would seem that every child matters but that some matter a lot less than others.