FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION AWARENESS
WHAT IS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)?
FGM, also referred to as female circumcision or cutting, is the partial or complete removal of female external genitalia for non-medical reasons. World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified the following four types of FGM:
- CLITORIDECTOMY: Partial or complete removal of the clitoral hood/skin around clitoris;
- EXCISION: Partial or complete removal of the clitoris and the labia minora;
- INFIBULATIONS: Cutting and repositioning of labia minora and labia majora (vaginal lips), with or without clitoris elimination followed by narrowing the vaginal opening by stitching;
- UNCLASSIFIED: All other types of harmful nn-medical procedures done to female genitalia such as pricking, piercing, incising and cauterizing.
ACTIVITIES ON FGM INCLUDE:
- Drop-in sessions;
- Workshops on awareness raising of the harmful practice of FGM;
- ‘Stop FGM campaign’ including working with young people;
- Providing safe space to discuss FGM;
- Bringing practising communities, voluntary and community sector and statutory bodies together to develop solutions;
- Confidential advice and tailored counselling services;
We organise community workshops for awareness-raising events to enlighten and educate people about the damaging and harmful impact of FGM including the effects on individuals. We work closely with people from different African countries where FGM is prevalent, mainly Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Liberia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Individuals are educated about consequences of FGM and encouraged to challenge norms and change behaviour.
The project provides information and support they need to lead full, healthy lives and to make positive changes in their lives. The Staff (paid and volunteers) helps connect services to women who are using and acting as their advocates with other agencies. Through a series of interactive sessions, women and girls learn more about issues relating to abuse and about ways in which factors such as gender, class, race etc have affected them.
Since 1985, following the implementation of the 1985 Female circumcision Prohibition Act, FGM has been made illegal. The new Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) states it is an offence to take UK nationals and those with permanent UK residency overseas for the purpose of circumcision, to aid and to abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM. The UK government has made it illegal for anyone to carry out female circumcision for cultural or non- cultural reasons.
Currently under UK law there is a 14 year imprisonment for anyone convicted of aiding or abetting FGM on women under the FGM 2003 ACT.
FGM is known to have severe health implication on women who have undergone the procedure some of the risks include:
- Virginal infections;
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections;
- Menstrual problems;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
It is believed the procedure is prevalent among UK girls from ethnic minority backgrounds with a higher prevalence among the Sudanese and Yemen backgrounds where approximately 98% of women have undergone the procedure.
Peacemaker International has recently decided to lobby against the practice of FGM on UK girls and is trying to lobby the UK government to change the existing Immigration Law that allows deportation of women entering the UK fleeing FGM in their native countries to face the procedure upon deportation.
We believe the current immigration law is inadequate and exposes women to serious risk and harm by being deported to their native countries. We are urging to legislate for an exceptional rule in the current immigration law that will safeguard women from deportation.
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