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 of 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.
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