Any serious look at the realities of female genital mutilation in modern Britain cannot be complete without an attempt at sociological analysis in parallel with empirical description and policy discussion.
FGM is a social and economic force as well as a fundamental issue around human rights and the imperative on us all to keep the most vulnerable and smallest members of our society safe.
It is important to consider how sociological and economic analysis can contribute to understandings of what FGM means in a modern, historically fully established Western society such as, but not exclusively, the nations of Europe, North America and Australia.
Sociology throws light on how FGM sits in the social order, and what its impacts for that order might be, overall and directly for those who experience it (whether at first hand or in other ways). Economics helps in considering the implications of FGM for the economies of communities and societies in which it is found.
Continue reading “Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 2: Socio-economic Analysis”
Female genital mutilation is a complex business. It involves deeply entrenched beliefs, real and resolute social and economic forces, human agency of a particularly intimate nature, brutality and secrecy. It is also held by large numbers of those involved, and perhaps also by the recipient of the action, to be in the best interests of the person who experiences it.
These are not easy issues to unpick, and the path towards understanding and arresting the practice is further complicated by the gulf between the traditions and beliefs which engender and enable, even ennoble, FGM, and those which proclaim it without exception to be abhorrent abuse.
Continue reading “Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 8: Prevention: Communities”
How many more girls and young women in the UK (or the USA, or Australia, or in other Western states) will have their health, even lives, put at risk because of FGM?
How long will it be before Western political leaders recognise they must put their own house properly in order, as well as formulating FGM and those who practise it as ‘the other’?
And how long must we wait, with children at risk every day, before campaigners in communities and law enforcement authorities find ways to work together much more effectively? How are we to reach the crucial consensus, in traditionally practising communities and elsewhere, that FGM is everyone’s business, simply another grimly appalling act of cruelty permitting, of itself, no more ‘cultural sensitivity’ or special pleading by anyone involved than any other abuse of girls and women?
These are stark questions, but they must be asked. Children in the UK remain at serious risk; lives continue to be ruined in Britain, across the Western world and around the globe.
Continue reading “Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 12: Will FGM be Eradicated in the UK in a Decade?”