Two of the world’s leading campaigners in the fight against FGM say that a ‘tipping point’ is being reached, meaning that the practice of female genital mutilation could end by 2030.
Nimco Ali and Dr Leyla Hussein were both honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with OBEs, and dedicated their honours to fellow campaigners seeking an end to the practice, which has affected over 200 million girls and women worldwide, many of whom are in Africa and the Middle East. 137,000 reside in the UK.
Both women have experienced FGM themselves, and have campaigned for a decade to end FGM. Despite the banning of the practice in 2003, where it became an offence to take girls out of the UK to undergo the FGM, they have both seen evidence of its prevalence across British communities. In 2006, Ms Ali visited a class of 15 British-Somali girls in Bristol, of whom 13 disclosed that they had been victim to the practice. All were EU or Bristol-born.
In February, it was announced that all secondary school pupils in the UK will be taught about the dangers of FGM, widely referred to as ‘cutting’, as part of the new compulsory sex and relationships education.
What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other
damage to the genital organs, for supposed cultural, religious or non-medical
reasons. FGM (also known as female circumcision, ‘cutting’ and ‘sunna’) can affect
females from birth to pregnancy. It inflicts severe physical and psychological
damage which can last a lifetime.
While there is some intelligence to suggest FGM is being physically performed in
the UK, most victims are usually taken abroad, commonly on flights in the holiday
periods of Easter, summer and Christmas.
More information about FGM, including warning signs that someone may be at risk of undergoing, or is a victim of this harmful practice, can be found on our FGM page.
Refuge is a countywide service which provides support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire. This includes culturally specific services, including support to victims of FGM, honour based violence and forced marriage.