**FEBRUARY 6th is INTERNATIONAL END FGM DAY**
(WARNING- this post may have a triggering effect if you are sensitive to the issue of FGM or such abuse, as it contains a few graphic references)
Ending Female Genital Mutilation (also known as Female Genital Cutting, Female Circumcision or FGM/C) is a very important cause, and at the moment the Irish Government have not specifically legislated against this barbaric procedure. Please support END FGM Day this year! Read on if you’d like to know more about it…
FGM is a procedure where the victim’s genitals are intentionally cut, injured, partially removed or altered for no medical or therapeutic reason. It is estimated that 2-3 million young women a year are subjected to this archaic and barbaric mutilation in the name of tradition or religion. And an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM and it is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights. Usually the procedure is carried out on girls from infancy to 15 years of age, and it is most common in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is often representative of deep-seated gender inequality and sexism, as women’s genitals might be considered ‘dirty’, and where female virginity or lack of sexual desire is regarded as preferable. There are different kinds of FGM, but the most common is the whole or partial removal of the inner or outer ‘lips’ and/ or ‘clit’, and also to sew up part of the entrance to the vagina (which will then need to be broken in order to have sex later). The procedure is extremely dangerous and often leads to multiple health problems throughout the women’s life (bleeding, infections, bladder problems, complications in childbirth, lack of ability to orgasm, cysts, the need for further surgery etc).
The Irish Government has not yet explicitly legislated against FGM. So, unbelievably, FGM is not actually illegal here!! Incredible advocacy groups like Akidwa are putting major pressure on them to deal with this issue in 2010. Not only so it will never be practised, but also to protect women from being removed from the state to have the procedure done overseas. And to legislate for people seeking refuge here if facing mutilation in their own country. Ireland’s National Action Plan on FGM was launched in 2008, and social groups are still pushing the government to recognise and legislate against this form of torture. The objectives of the action plan are to prevent the practice of FGM, to provide high quality, appropriate healthcare and support, and also to consolidate with the global campaign to end FGM.
Akidwa are co-hosting a related event in Dublin on Feb 4th so keep an eye on: http://www.akidwa.ie/fgm.php