Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 4: Men, Women and Power

In the twentieth century female genital mutilation was a matter rarely discussed in polite Western society. Its immutable centrality in various traditional communities, even nations, was barely acknowledged in the more modern ‘developed’ world, where the very large majority of people had no idea that FGM is a fact of life for others, even sometimes a few others amongst their own compatriots.

The onset of the twenty-first century, however, has seen things change. FGM has started to be recognised as an issue in most cities in the Western world. People in Britain, mainland Europe, North America and, for instance, Australia have begun to ask how it is that such a bewildering and disturbing ‘custom’ can have become a feature of their own communities and society.

Two factors in particular stand out as partial answers to this question.  

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Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation Chapter 12: Will FGM be Eradicated in the UK in a Decade?

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?”