Let's Talk About FGM

Let's Talk About FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is rarely welcomed as a topic of discussion as it often makes people feel very uncomfortable. But let's talk about FGM because we should! It's time to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable...

I first came across the term FGM by reading an article about it. It read ‘2,000 female genital mutilation victims seek help at London hospitals in just three years but the true figure is far more than what figures show’. This really struck me and it made me want to investigate it further.

FGM is an ancient practice which dates back around 2,500 years. The practice is carried out on infant girls up to the age of 15 to prepare them for marriage to make sure that a girl stays pure for her husband before they’re married, the removal of the genitals stops her from being promiscuous and having multiple sexual partners.

There are three types of FGM:

  1. The cliterous is pricked or cut
  2. The labia minora is cut then sewn
  3. The cliterous and labia majora are cut and sewn

It’s done to preserve virginity and get rid of the pleasure women experience during sex. It’s about having control over women and keeping them clean. It’s practised in 28 countries, mainly in Africa and some parts of Asia, but due to migration, it also occurs in America and parts of the UK. There isn't a single holy book which permits these practices. FGM is not religious nor medical; it’s pure violence and abuse. Child abuse. Just let that sink in…

Young girls, and in some cases, babies are having their genitals removed from them simply because they’re female.

For a moment, forget about statistics and think about the individual. Think about the 4-year-old girl being forcefully held down by her own mother, while another woman cuts out the inside of her vagina without the correct use of sterilized medical instruments.

Now I want you to think about her screaming in pain while stands in her own pool of blood and flesh. It’s simply harrowing to even imagine the agony that young girl must feel. This type of violence is happening to children around the world everyday and there are no words to describe the heartbreak that I feel knowing this.

It goes without saying that FGM needs to end. One simple way to help end this is by making sure that people educated on the subject. I come across so many individuals that say ‘I had no idea’. Well it happens, and now’s the time to act on this worldwide issue. Let’s not be ignorant and assume that it's only an issue in a ‘third world barbaric tribe’, or ‘in a foreign land’. It’s an issue that’s happening right here on our doorstep in the UK.

To date 130 million women on this earth have been mutilated and that is a number that is increasing daily. FGM leaves a lifetime of suffering, and there are serious risks of infection, and in some cases, death. There are also difficulties during childbirth and infertility as well as psychological trauma. It is inhumane, vile and senseless and it fills me with rage.

But my anger alone is insignificant. I want us, as a nation, to be angry and to help end this violence. You may not want to talk about female genital mutilation because it makes you feel uncomfortable or because you think it’s not your problem. This mindset needs to be challenged. 16 days of Activism aims to end gender-based violence. Make change. Donald Trump is President of the United States of America, if there’s a time to make a change, it’s now.

- Chizi Phiri, SU President

Let's Talk About FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is rarely welcomed as a topic of discussion as it often makes people feel very uncomfortable. But let's talk about FGM because we should! It's time to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable...

I first came across the term FGM by reading an article about it. It read ‘2,000 female genital mutilation victims seek help at London hospitals in just three years but the true figure is far more than what figures show’. This really struck me and it made me want to investigate it further.

FGM is an ancient practice which dates back around 2,500 years. The practice is carried out on infant girls up to the age of 15 to prepare them for marriage to make sure that a girl stays pure for her husband before they’re married, the removal of the genitals stops her from being promiscuous and having multiple sexual partners.

There are three types of FGM:

  1. The cliterous is pricked or cut
  2. The labia minora is cut then sewn
  3. The cliterous and labia majora are cut and sewn

It’s done to preserve virginity and get rid of the pleasure women experience during sex. It’s about having control over women and keeping them clean. It’s practised in 28 countries, mainly in Africa and some parts of Asia, but due to migration, it also occurs in America and parts of the UK. There isn't a single holy book which permits these practices. FGM is not religious nor medical; it’s pure violence and abuse. Child abuse. Just let that sink in…

Young girls, and in some cases, babies are having their genitals removed from them simply because they’re female.

For a moment, forget about statistics and think about the individual. Think about the 4-year-old girl being forcefully held down by her own mother, while another woman cuts out the inside of her vagina without the correct use of sterilized medical instruments.

Now I want you to think about her screaming in pain while stands in her own pool of blood and flesh. It’s simply harrowing to even imagine the agony that young girl must feel. This type of violence is happening to children around the world everyday and there are no words to describe the heartbreak that I feel knowing this.

It goes without saying that FGM needs to end. One simple way to help end this is by making sure that people educated on the subject. I come across so many individuals that say ‘I had no idea’. Well it happens, and now’s the time to act on this worldwide issue. Let’s not be ignorant and assume that it's only an issue in a ‘third world barbaric tribe’, or ‘in a foreign land’. It’s an issue that’s happening right here on our doorstep in the UK.

To date 130 million women on this earth have been mutilated and that is a number that is increasing daily. FGM leaves a lifetime of suffering, and there are serious risks of infection, and in some cases, death. There are also difficulties during childbirth and infertility as well as psychological trauma. It is inhumane, vile and senseless and it fills me with rage.

But my anger alone is insignificant. I want us, as a nation, to be angry and to help end this violence. You may not want to talk about female genital mutilation because it makes you feel uncomfortable or because you think it’s not your problem. This mindset needs to be challenged. 16 days of Activism aims to end gender-based violence. Make change. Donald Trump is President of the United States of America, if there’s a time to make a change, it’s now.

- Chizi Phiri, Llywydd Undeb y Myfyrwyr