From the archive »« A real and substantial risk to the life of the mother

Sabotaged with scissors

Just after posting a comment about the non-desirability of calling Female Genital Mutiliation FG “Cutting” instead, I check Twitter and see a tweet from Ex-Muslims Forum:

Grace Dent is a wonderful writer – here she is on FGM http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-book-of-mormons-lesson-in-genital-genocide-8554496.html …@gracedent +

So I’m reading it. Grace Dent has no truck with euphemism on this subject.

By rough estimates, there are 20,000 girls at risk of FGM in Britain and 66,000 coping with the botched consequences. There has never been a prosecution, either of a mother taking her child out of the country, or a cutter travelling into Britain. I’ve read cases about little girls in Stratford – home of Olympic hope – being whisked off to Mogadishu. Or of the Somali community in Glasgow where a three-year-old girl and a small baby were sabotaged with scissors. I don’t think polite, concerned mumblings about FGM wholly prepare anyone for the fact that in the majority of cases, after these botch jobs, the whole lot is gone. Here, we have women with missing sex parts.

And it’s mutilation. We’re not talking earlobes here.

Also problematic is the fact that FGM here affects mainly young British African girls of Muslim heritage. In Britain, we are at a sticky point with feminism, where large numbers of women have spent four or five decades being permitted education, the right to work and use contraception, and now believe feminism isn’t needed. No more rights needed here, thank you! “I’m not one of those feminists,” young British women bleat, as nearby, young girls are being whisked off to sunny Mogadishu or being hacked at in a back room in Stratford. This odd idea that “I have my rights, to hell with women globally” shames us. “I have my rights, but I don’t want to say anything remotely culturally insensitive” is a far graver problem still.

As for culturally insensitive – there are plenty of women working to end FGM right there in places where it happens. Be sensitive to their culture.

Comments

  1. fwtbc says

    I have trouble seeing it as anything other than mutilation too, but I can certainly appreciate that women who were unwilling victims can feel more comfortable about their bodies if they don’t think of themselves as being mutilated.

  2. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    Until Western governments are willing to inspect all girls from at risk countries and impose mandatory prison terms for any party involved (exclusing of course the victim), the practise will seem worth the risk. I think life imprisonment is not too steep given that the guilty have permanently mutilated or acquiesced to the mutilation of another person.

    Foot binding was not completely eradicated in a few decades by being ‘culturally sensitive’ and appreciating the viewpoint of women that had been thus mutilated. It was eradicated by law and the willingness to brutally enforce it. It was a monstrous evil and it needed to be ended sooner rather than later. FGM is just the same.

  3. left0ver1under says

    By rough estimates, there are 20,000 girls at risk of FGM in Britain and 66,000 coping with the botched consequences. There has never been a prosecution, either of a mother taking her child out of the country, or a cutter travelling into Britain. I’ve read cases about little girls in Stratford – home of Olympic hope – being whisked off to Mogadishu.

    Many countries now have laws saying anyone (almost always men) who travels and engages in child sex tourism abroad will be charged as strongly as if the person had molested children at home. Laws against violence and abuse should extend to parents who take children abroad to be abused and mutilated, and punished just as strongly as those who abuse strangers.

    There should be a support or legal system where young girls (or rarely young men) can say, “I don’t want what my familty wants” and be protected from them. Given the number of “honour killings” and other crimes, it’s obviously needed.

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