Community groups involved in tackling the growing issue of Female Genital Mutilation in England and Wales have warned that progress could be under threat due to a lack of Funding.

FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut injured or changed. This procedure is performed on girls who are just starting puberty. At such a tender age this ‘operation’ is performed against the child’s will in unsanitary conditions by people who are untrained. The procedure is performed for both religious and cultural reasons – in order to control a woman’s sexuality.

Government funding has paid for the training of more that 6000 teachers and health care staff in how to spot and respond to the illegal act of FGM. Although it is hard to measure the success of the campaign to prevent the illegal procedure due to lack of data, surveys have found that attitudes to FGM have changed with more and more people now aware of the barbaric practice.

Staggeringly, over 65,000 girls under the age of 13 are at risk of FGM in the UK. Victims of FGM are sent by their families to Africa and the middle east where they are forced to undergo the procedure. Its shameful that in todays society girls are still falling victim to such medieval practices. There are approximately 170,000 girls in the UK today living with the effects of FGM, each with their own horrific story of mutilation.

Leyla Hussein is a multi-award winning campaigner on FGM and gender rights. Her charity Daughters of Eve are working to protect girls and young women at risk of FGM.

FGM is practiced in approximately 42 African countries and despite the procedure being a form of child abuse, there have been zero successful FGM prosecutions in the UK.

Despite government funding being under threat, education on FGM in schools and communities needs to continue in order to stamp out this barbaric practice. Hopefully with more awareness  we can ensure no women living in the UK will have to suffer brutal mutilation and life long psychological damage.

[Image credit: Pub209healthcultureandsociety]

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AUTHOR: Drew Wyllie (Online Editor)

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