There are various participants in the journey to end female genital mutilation in the UK. Most, but certainly not all, would align with the declared, socially progressive assumptions of this text. All except the most radical apologist or traditionalist seek somehow to eradicate FGM. The commonality of aim but discrepancies of perspective do, however, come into sharp relief when issues of politics, media and culture are considered.
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.