WHAT IS FGM?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is:
“any procedure that involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia
or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”
(World Health Organisation)
It is NOT sanctioned by Islam or any other religion and is outlawed in most countries across the world. FGM procedures vary from a removal of all or part of the clitoris or outer labia to the sewing up of the vagina. The age of girls undergoing FGM varies from weeks after birth to puberty.
FGM has no known health benefit and can cause both immediate and lifelong health complications, including:
– post-traumatic stress disorders;
– agonising pain when passing urine, during menstruation and sex;
– fatal bleeding;
– acute urinary infection;
– wound infections;
– tetanus; and
– transmission of hepatitis or HIV if instruments are non-sterile or reused (which they often are).
FGM IN THE UK
An estimated 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, with a minimum of 66,000 women living with the consequences. FGM is most prevalent in sub-Saharan, African, and to a lesser extent, Middle-Eastern communities.
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985: yet to date, not a single prosecution has ever taken place.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Making Herstory is currently working with Manor Gardens Centre’s (MGC) FGM Special Initiative and Newham Council to:
– Disseminate information about the harms of FGM to hard-to-reach communities;
– Encourage use of a new domestic violence and FGM helpline across Newham;
– Highlight specialist services for FGM intervention and rehabilitation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE with us. We need to know:
– WHERE FGM is taking place: e.g. ‘cutting’ or ‘recuperation’ houses.
– WHO is carrying out FGM procedures within their communities
– WHERE FGM is being ‘championed’ as a religious / cultural necessity.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ANY information relating to the above: we’ll take care of the rest.
2.SIGN THE ‘JUSTICE FOR FGM VICTIMS UK’ PETITION calling on the David Cameron and the UK government to begin prosecuting FGM perpetrators.
3. IF YOU ARE A GP DOCTOR and identify girls or women who have undergone FGM, please refer them to a FGM clinic service (you can find a List of FGM Clinics HERE). If you identify women and girls at risk of FGM, make a report to your peers, contact the NSPCC as below, or advise patients to contact a local clinic for prevention support.
4. IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD OF BEING IN DANGER OF FGM, contact the NSPCC 24-hour FGM service immediately on 0800 028 3550. You can remain anonymous.
5. IF YOU KNOW A CHILD HAS BEEN TAKEN ABROAD to undergo FGM, you can contact the Foreign Commonwealth Office on 020 7008 1500.
6. IF YOU LIVE IN NEWHAM and think a woman or girl is at risk of undergoing FGM, contact 020 3373 4600 immediately.