FAITH AND JUSTICE


Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Thursday 6th February marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance for female genital mutilation (FGM) and this year saw renewed commitment by the UK government to increase efforts to stop the practice. But what is FGM?  Female genital mutilation is defined as the removal of part or all of the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is also called female circumcision and cutting. The procedure is mostly done to girls between birth and 15 years.  There is no health benefit to the procedure.



This map shows the legal status of laws against FGM worldwide, click to ernlarge.

FGM is practised in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but four countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan) account for about 42 percent of all cases. It is sobering to think that an estimated 200 million women have already suffered FGM and that in the United Kingdom,  there are more than 100,000 women in the UK living with the consequences of it.  

The map below shows FGM distribution in Africa by country, click to enlarge.


FGM is a violation of girls’ bodies and of their human rights, causing  harm and putting their lives at risk. 

The procedure can leave girls with lifelong physical and psychological trauma.  In many countries, girls at risk of FGM are more  likely to suffer child marriage, die during pregnancy, or contract HIV.

FGM is a violation of girls’ bodies and of their human rights, causing  harm and putting their lives at risk.  The procedure can leave girls with lifelong physical and psychological trauma.  In many countries, girls at risk of FGM are more  likely to suffer child marriage, die during pregnancy, or contract HIV.

Reassuringly there has been a downward trend in the practice in recent years. Nowadays, girls are now a  third less likely to be cut than in previous years, it seems that for many attitudes are changing.  However,  that still leaves us with the following statistic: Every seven seconds, a girl somewhere in the world still suffers FGM.



Sarian’s story:

At the tender age of 11, Sarian  underwent FGM in Sierra Leone.  She actually underwent the procedure twice — forcibly both times — because the first attempt was botched due to the cutter being drunk.  I am not big on social media, but I do urge you to watch a 2 minute video on the following link to hear Sarian’s story first hand:  https://twitter.com/DFID_UK/status/1225338572305248256 Despite her horrifying experience, Sarian is now a brave and fervent anti-FGM campaigner.  

The UK is the largest single donor supporting the end of FGM globally, helping 10,000 communities across Africa to abandon.  But the fight is not an easy one.  Although laws can be changed, changing attitudes and deeply held belief systems is an uphill challenge.  However, it is a challenge that we cannot ignore and we cannot shy away from because girls should never have to fear being subjected to FGM.  

Andrew and Valerie Ward - Faith and Justice Spokespersons

 

ABOUT ST. GILES CHURCH


Faith and Justice Spokesperson

I am delighted to say that Andrew and Valerie Ward have kindly agreed to take on this important role.  Both Andrew and Valerie work in various areas of development and we will be hearing about this in due course.
  
Andrew and Valerie, and their three children, Sasha, Tiago and Imani. are very much part of our Church and I am delighted that they have agreed to do this as we will all benefit enormously from their input. 

Contact: Andrew Ward  07900 017394
dr_a_f_ward@hotmail.com

Matthew