FGM – Female Genital Mutilation

What is FGM – Female Genital Mutilation

FGM – Female Genital mutilation –  is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut but where there is no medical reason for this to be done.  It is mainly done for cultural reasons and is carried out on girls between infancy and their early/mid teens.   It is very painful and is done without anaesthetic often using blunt instruments such as knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces Tools used to perform Female Genital Mutilationof glass or razor blades.  FGM often happens against a girl’s will or consent and girls may have to be forcibly restrained.  These girls will often suffer later on in life when trying to conceive after this procedure is performed on them.  Many have to have the procedure reversed. Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK.

People often associate FGM with the African continent.  However, it is also prevalent in the Middle East and Asia. Certain women’s rights groups are now bringing much awareness of the practice which is being condemned.

Steps to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation

I had the privilege of working with one of many projects in Kenya that partner with Mission Direct – a project that provides a safe-house for girls who have fled their homes in fear of the practice of female genital mutilation.  I saw first-hand the work being done to support the girls.  

The safe-home for these young girls provide for their social, spiritual and economic well-being.  The girls feel at home and all get along like sisters; their stories are different even though they all have been affected by this cultural practice. They all partake in the upkeep of the home doing chores such as cleaning and cooking.  They also develop their musical talents by learning to play an instrument such as the trombone or drum. 

These may seem like small steps but this is a generation of girls who will not pass this practice on to the next generation.  Sooner or later this practice will cease.  Educating the elders and the older generation will also enlighten them to better ways of thinking.

Legislations and initiatives are now being enacted around the world, to combat the practice of female genital mutilation. More and more people are now being made aware of this practice to make it not only illegal but unlawful.

Life after Female Genital Mutilation

To support the girls in becoming self-sufficient, whilst studying, land was purchased so that they can grow their own crops.  The girls often go to the farm after school or during the weekend to tend to it. 

The farmland also has a beehive, fish pond – to breed, rear and sell their own fish, a chicken coop and a pig sty.   The First Lady of the County opened the farm and it was a blessing for me to see the girls perform.  

Many of the girls have gone onto university outside of Kenya and have become teachers, lawyers, hairdressers, musicians etc.  Some will often return to their families who are proud of their achievements.

Dorcas was in the safe-house. This is her singing on her SECOND album. It is just as AWESOME as her first album which I have on DVD. 

Steps taken in the Western World to prevent Female Genital Mutilation

Now that there is widespread knowledge of FGM in the news, the UK government are concerned that parents of children from the African, Middle East and Asia cultures are sending their children back home during school holidays so that they can have this procedure carried out.  During school term time at UK airports, the authorities screen girls travelling during this period.

Waris Dirie – Survivor of Female Genital Mutilation

At the age of 5, Waris Dirie had female genital mutilation performed on her.  In her book Desert Flower, she explains in great detail the pain she endured before, during and after she had the procedure. She is now an advocate against FGM.

Female genital mutilation needs to stop.  It is a cultural practice that s risky and dangerous to the lives of women.  Many women, affected by female genital mutilation, have gone on to achieve greatness in their lives.  Please subscribe to the newsletter if you would like to know more about the work in Kenya.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions and share or like it on your social media platforms.

Thanks.

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12 Comments

  1. Dear Jackie,

    Reading this article made my stomach weak. I have heard of this procedure before, actually many years ago and it hurts my heart to know that it is still being practiced and in so many places outside of Africa as well.

    It is sad and leaves me at a point of no words. However, I am happy that there is an organization that is working towards the eradication of this practice. I cannot even begin to think of the physical and mental pain, the emotional trauma, that these young girls/women have to endure.

    The video is indeed uplifting to know that there are those women who can strive beyond their past and accomplish great things.

    Thanks for taking the time to build awareness and to engage others in the fight for the stopping of this practice.

    Michelle

    1. I heard about this procedure too but didn’t take much notice – what brought it home to me was when I visited Kenya recently on a mission trip and was involved with a Project where a Pastor rescues girls from this practice. When I listened to some of their stories – it was so heart-breaking.
      Much awareness of the practice is being made in the Western world and countries that practice FGM, are being educated concerning the damaging effects – not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically – FGM has on these women.

      Hopefully one day, this practice will be eradicated so that young girls can live without fear of having this done to them in the name of culture.
      Thanks for stopping by Michelle.
      Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family to bring about even more awareness. Thanks
      Jackie

  2. Jackie,

    On one hand, I love what you are doing with your website here. On the other hand, my heart just aches for these girls. Honestly, I’m not sure which would be worse – the pain associated with the mulitaion or the fear that compels a young girl to leave her family and all that she knows to avoid the FGM. Both scenarios sound aweful.

    The farm that the girls can work on and use to support themselves sounds amazing. I only can hope that the girls enjoy working with the chickens and pigs as much as I love working with my pigs and chickens. Sometimes animals, to include livestock, can relieve a lot of hurt and pain. My pigs make me laugh. Learning to be self sufficient and having something to sell is a wonderful opportunity. Again, I can not imagine the fear and/or pain that drove them to the farm in the first place.

    Thank you for sharing Dorcas’s music video. The Lord is good and I hope that He can use her and caring people such as yourself to spread the word and end FGM.

    May the Lord bless you in all of your efforts to spread the word so that this horrible practise can be eradicated.

    1. Hi Sondra,
      Thanks for your comment and kind words of encouragement. This is much appreciated.
      A lot of changes are now being made to eradicate this practice. Educating people is the key.
      To see how the girls thrive and are happy is the most wonderful thing to see. Many of them are quite shy when they first arrive at the home but they become confident and bold and learn to believe in themselves. The Pastor and his wife do a great job in the psychological, spiritual and social upbringing of the girls.
      What is also great is that the Pastor encourages the girls to visit their families which many do – the reconciliation after what could be many years is always emotionally charged, however, the families come to the realisation that there is a better way for the girls than FGM as they reflect on the positive changes taking place in their lives.
      Blessings to you too.

  3. Hi Jackie,
    Such a heart wrenching story to read about these precious girls. I have a daughter and I couldn’t imagine her going through this unnecessary mutilation. I am so happy to hear that the girls have a safe house, which sounds to be a very nurturing place. And yes, with education and legislation, let’s pray this will cease quickly and entirely.

    If I buy the book, will a donation be made to help support these girls?

    I will share this on social media. It’s so important to spread the word about this horrendous practice. Bless you for making us more aware of this!

    Ciny

    1. Hi Cindy,
      Thank you for your comment.
      It is quite heart-wrenching when you hear the girls stories. However, despite what they’ve been through, they are so cheerful and optimistic about the future. House of Hope – the name of the safe house – is a haven. The Pastor and his wife are doing a great job in nurturing the girls.

      If you purchase the book, PM me. I will ensure that a donation be made to help support the girls.

      Thanks for sharing and spreading the word.
      Blessings to you.
      Jackie

  4. I came across your site here, and I’m sorry to see that this old tradition still is in practice.

    You are doing a great job in spreading the information about how people can help. It’s important to let these young girls have their rights of being complete human beings, alongside everyone else.

    It’s great to see that they are taken care of, to see they get a chance to make their lives great again. On the other hand we have to hope that these actions are fading out fast, so we all proudly can say that people care about the complete human being and accept that we are born as we are.

    It seems they have great possibilities to get along with their lives, and thank you for sharing the video. The music education on trombone and drums got my attention. Music is a great way of celebrating the good things in life and also a great way to express strong opinions. Hopefully they manage to build the strenght they need to change the situation.

    I’m sure this will disappear one day, and you are doing a great job by informing of this. Thank you for being an inspiration with your enthusiasm. That’s a great way to help other people.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Odd Helge,
      Thanks for dropping by.
      As you mentioned, it’s an ‘old tradition’. A tradition, which has been passed down to each generation. Thankfully the youth of today are not just accepting what is being passed down to them in the way of culture and tradition, many of them are beginning to ask questions.

      It is amazing what they can achieve outside of culture and tradition if given a chance. All the girls I have made contact with have ambitions to achieve great things in their lives.

      Thanks for your encouraging words.
      Jackie

  5. I had heard of that kind of practice before, but I didn’t that it was still being done. What are the real reasons for doing this? I know culturel background can be real strong, just like pear pressure. It’s kinda sad, but that’s the reality of our world.

    I’m glad to see though that they are some people who are rising in the hope to do something about it or at least support those girls who were helpless victims of such practice.

    1. Hi Guy,
      Yes, this practice is still alive.
      The main reason for doing this, is to keep the young girls celibate until they are married. There are other ways to do this which are not so detrimental to their health such as education.
      Much awareness of this practice is now being spread across the globe resulting in outcries from women, health, family support groups etc.
      In the UK the National Health Service have centres for those women who have been through the process of FGM and want to reverse it, so there is hope for some of these girls. Governments in the countries where they carry out this practice for cultural reasons, are also trying to make FGM illegal by law.

  6. I just came across your post and I cannot believe that this sort of thing still happens. Those poor girls going through the idea of knowing that their families will be putting them through this. This really does need to stop. You are doing such great work by spreading this knowledge with the world to help prevent this from happening anymore. This day and age there this sort of barbaric activities should not be happening. I was shocked to read that families from the UK send their children home to get this practice completed. My best hopes and wishes go to the girls affected by this practice.

    1. Hi Graham,
      Thanks for your comments. Yes. FGM still happens as it is steeped in certain cultures. As it is part of their tradition/culture, many girls just accept it as a way of life. However, as time goes by, and those involved in the practice are being educated, a lot is being done to make this illegal.
      During the school holidays, they now have specially trained advisors at each airport in the UK to prevent young girls from leaving the country for this practice to be carried out on them. Even though their parents/guardians have left their homeland, they still want to continue the practice. The only way for them to do this is to send the girls back home.
      I believe that these girls will be instrumental in having this practice become illegal when they speak out about their experience.

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