Okay, try for a minute to imagine having your ear cut off for no apparent reason and with no relief from any anesthetic. Try to imagine what the splitting pain and the excruciating agony would feel like. You would feel shocked and scarred and everyone would be outraged.
Now, another imagination task for you all, you are 10 years old, and you are being pinned down by women that you do not know. You are a female and you are having your outer labia, inner labia and clitoris brutally cut off with a razor. Left with a tiny, sewn up hole. Meanwhile, being brainwashed into thinking that this process is ‘cleansing you’. This my friends is female genital mutilation (FGM) and is commonly occurring around the world. Shocking isn’t it?
It is estimated that 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone this procedure and it is also estimated that 23,000 girls currently living in the UK are at risk. This is despite the fact that in 1985 this act was made illegal, and since 2003 illegal for British parents to take their children abroad to have this procedure done.
It has been investigated by the BBC that a group of clinics in Singapore are willing to provide a form of female genital mutilation. Apart from the deep psychological trauma of having your flesh brutally cut off, the physical side of having your genitals sewn up have all types of adverse effects, including infertility, urinary infections and many complications during childbirth, which can result in death.
Susan, chair lady of Kongelai Women’s Network in Kenya divulges the horrific experiences that she endured, ‘On the first night of your married life they won’t have the force to penetrate you as they tend to be much older. So girls will get a cow’s horn to drill the hole bigger. This was very traumatic and painful for me. If the hole is too big for the man he will request that the girl is sewn up smaller. I refuse to have my daughters circumcised’.
The cultural sensitivity attached to the issue along with the complicit silence around it has meant that in the UK, there has never been a prosecution. David Cameron suggested just two weeks ago that the absence of prosecution was due to the lack of people from FGM-affected communities coming forwards with evidence. This is an horrific and completely unnecessary process that young girls worldwide are having to endure and it just has to stop. There is a e-petition signed by 100,000 people forcing a debate in parliament to eliminate FGM in the UK, more signatures will strength the case, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52740