Thousands of girls mutilated in Britain
There is nothing new here, but the more this information is repeated the better. This article, good as it is, suggests that the foundation of this practice is purely cultural and leaves out the reason for its popularity in Islam, as explained here by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
From The Times
The NHS is to advertise free operations to reverse female circumcisions, with experts warning that each year more than 500 British girls have their genitals mutilated.
Despite having been outlawed in 1985, female circumcision is still practised in British African communities, in some cases on girls as young as 5. Police have been unable to bring a single prosecution even though they suspect that community elders are being flown from the Horn of Africa to carry out the procedures.
The advertisement will appear from next month on a Somali satellite TV station much viewed in Britain. It features Juliet Albert, a midwife who does the reverse operations, and promises, in English and Somali, confidentiality for victims of female genital mutilation.
The advertisement was expected to help to undermine demand for girls to be circumcised, and to popularise the reversal procedure, Ms Albert said. Thousands of such operations have been carried out at specialist clinics and hospitals around Britain and demand is growing slowly.
I don't generally hold with hymen repair on the NHS but I am happy for my NI contribution to pay for this. This is abuse done to little children, the repair of which will prevent them suffering ill health in adulthood. Surgery cannot replace the clitoris but it can repair the other damage.
Sarah McCulloch, of the Agency for Culture Change Management UK, said that every year more than 500 British girls were having circumcisions. “A lot of them are done in the UK, but some still travel overseas,” she said.
She said that a code of silence in Britain’s African communities had allowed circumcisions to continue and prevented arrests. The unqualified female elders, known as “house doctors” because they act in secret in a family home, are flown into the country.
“What the communities do is they gather together and collect money to pay for the ticket for a ‘doctor’ to come from Somalia, Sudan, or whatever,” she told The Times. “And when she arrives here, she goes to a house and has the girls brought to her.”
While Scotland Yard is understood to have made investigations into female circumcision in the UK, and offered a £20,000 reward for information, no one has been successfully prosecuted for carrying out the procedure. I was sure I read that a prosecution was to take place of a woman working in Waltham Forest but I heard no more. It must have failed or been dropped.
Waris Dirie, a former UN envoy for the prevention of female genital mutilation, said that it had no justification. Ms Dirie is a victim of the procedure and it haunts her to this day. “Female genital mutilation has nothing to do with tradition, religion or culture. It is the most cynical form of child abuse and a crime that has to be punished,” she told The Times.
Ms McCulloch said that men were becoming more vocal in opposition to female circumcision. “I’ve talked to some fathers who’ve made clear to their wives that they don’t want this done to their daughters — only for them to go out and come back to find their girls circumcised,” she said.
This is a link to an interview with one such father. However to convince his mother-in-law that he was serious about the mutilation not being performed he threatened to kill his wife if she disobeyed him. And I think he meant it, and his women knew it. A daughter's story is here.
Lynette Parvez, head teacher of Kelmscott School (very near my old home, but not my old school) in Walthamstow, northeast London, said that several teachers there would soon be trained to detect victims of female circumcision, and pupils at risk. Experts believe that most of the procedures are done during summer holidays when the girls have enough time to recover without suspicion about their absence.
We need this not just in The Times but in Hello and Chat, and Take a Break. Horrible as it is get the Girl Guides involved. Not that many Somali girls are in the Guides but the more teenage girls know about it the easier for their schoolmates to realise it is unacceptable in the UK. Teach about it in PSHE.
Posted on 03/16/2009 7:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
16 Mar 2009
To call what the Somalis do to their daughters "circumcision" is extremely misleading. Usually it is referred to as infibulation. The author of this article should describe it so people know exactly what is being discussed.
16 Mar 2009
Although infibulation may be more correct I doubt many people know what it means. It could be nose piercing or mole removal for all some people know and won't as yet, raise alarm bells. Circumcision does let people know it is the girl's gentials under attack, and then followed by the word mutilation that it is beyond anything comparable to the procedure in males. As public awareness rises the correct term an be introduced.
Personally I still like the Danish Politician who called it female castration.
16 Mar 2009
“Female genital mutilation has nothing to do with tradition, religion or culture. It is the most cynical form of child abuse and a crime that has to be punished”
This sounds like the typical avoid-criticising-Islam-at-any-cost rationalizing. If it's not tradition, religion, or culture, then why are they doing it? Because of unspecified nebulous "extremism"?
Until we (which may or may not include Waris Dirie, who may find it ontologically difficult to criticise the religion and culture in which she was raised) are willing to at the very least clearly state what is motivating this behavior, we're not going to end it.