Speak Up on FGM.

Writing this blog and others for the last 8 years has granted me many opportunities.

I have been lucky to experience some wonderful moments and make some fantastic friends.

Still one thing I am really grateful for in this online space is the freedom to use my voice, to share my passions, my beliefs and my heart.

Yet having such freedom should never be underestimated or undervalued when still in many places in this world many do not have this opportunity or freedom.

So with this in mind I am creating a new weekly linky called “Speak up” I want us all to come together and use our voices to speak out about things we are passionate about, those we wish to change and those we wish to support.

speak up

Together we can raise our voices louder.

So join me each week writing about what has touched you enough to speak out about.

Share news, campaigns, petitions and so much more.

As a community we can support and encourage one another.

After you have linked up visit at least one other blog of those who have linked up.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. “

Haile Selassie

Lets do this ……..

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This week I am Speaking Up about FGM or in its full Female Genital Mutilation.

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

FGM is when parts or all of the external female genitalia are removed or injured for no medical reason.

It is also sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. There are no health benefits to FGM and it is recognised internationally as a human rights violation.

Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types:

Type 1 – Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

Type 2 – Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

Type 3 – Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

Type 4 – Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area.

 

Its hard to get your head around isn’t it.

 

Honestly I read this and still cannot accept or understand why this is still happening.

I was actually talking to a friend a week or so ago and somehow we got onto the subject of what injustices we struggle with in this world today. When I mentioned FGM she asked in which countries that this still happened now. She was shocked when I replied here in the UK.

My friend like many others were under the belief that this abuse had been outlawed here in the UK. The fact that FGM has been illegal here since 1984 would allow you to believe this.

But you would be wrong.

A  local Birmingham hospital has dealt with 1,500 cases of FGM in last five years.

This means that six victims have been treated each week.

The fact that this is illegal seems to have no effect on the amount of mutilations occurring.  In 2014 regardless of the rise in hospital cases and reports given to the police there was not one single conviction in the UK.

This is appalling, even the fact that since 2003 anyone taking a child out of the Uk for the barbaric practice could face up to 14 years in prison has not slowed down the rate.

In fact The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it

•illegal to practice FGM in the UK

•illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia

•illegal to take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for  FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;

•Illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad;

An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.

Yet still no convictions.

Girls as young as five are being subjected to this heinous act.

Let me share with you some more figures.

60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK

137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK

Over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM

FGM is practiced in more than 29 countries across Africa, parts of the Middle East, South East Asia and countries where migrants from FGM affected communities live.

This needs to stop.

So that is why I am Speaking Up this week against FGM in hope to raise public attention to the fact that this is still happening right now in 2015.

Speaking up to support organisations like Forward UK who are working hard in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected.

Speak up against FGM with me.

national_fgm_poster

 

Join in with my new weekly link up and Speak Up for something that moves you and don’t forget to go visit the other linked up. blogs

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Audre Lorde

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