The UK’s Female Genital Mutilation Hotline goes live today.
It is estimated that roughly 70 women a month are brought in with complications with regards to the practice. Most of these are young children.
The UK police are treating the practice as child abuse and a special help line to ask both about legal advice and to seek help if you have or know someone who is at risk or has been subject to this practice.
This practice cannot and should not be disguised as being part of any culture; it is child abuse and offenders will be relentlessly pursued. It is not acceptable in the UK and in the UK we jail child abusers.
Now I understand the MRA will show up saying “what about boys and circumcision” to which I will point out that Circumcision is not done as routinely in the UK as it is in the USA. And secondly the effect of male circumcision is less traumatic than female circumcision and the rates of practice are falling. The major stumbling block to that is “Religious Belief”. Now there are medically related reasons for male circumcision, but the fact of the matter is that the practice of female circumcision is ENTIRELY aesthetical and forced on young girls for no real reason often using the notion that uncircumcised women are unclean or sluts or are prone to disease. These are not analagous topics. Derailing this conversation to talk about male circumcision makes you part of the FGM problem.
Many of the girls who have this done do not realise the true nature of the procedure, do so in unhygenic conditions with untrained practitioners of traditional medicine and above all are not aware of the illegality.
What this means? Doctors now have a definite solid protocol of who to go to and what to do in cases of FGM. If it is to be categorised and treated as child abuse it will neatly fit into existing infrastructure to protect these children (where possible) and help doctors engage parents and educate about this practice.
The number of the free 24-hour anonymous, helpline is 0800 028 3550; the dedicated email address is [email protected]