You've GOT to watch newsnight tonight shocker on FGM

(179 Posts)
Screwfox Tue 03-Sep-13 21:24:42

Watch this bloke justify it.
Are you a scratching?!

Full report on later apparently.

SPBisResisting Tue 03-Sep-13 21:27:04

not going to be able to watch it but lurking on this thread

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 03-Sep-13 21:31:15

blush Unfucking believable. I'm actually speechless at that. blush

Screwfox Tue 03-Sep-13 21:33:08

Isn't it. I like her "I've had a clitoris for 60 years"

Vajazzler Tue 03-Sep-13 21:34:39

Words fail me :-(

Ledkr Tue 03-Sep-13 21:44:03

Me too. Speechless

PrincessKitKat Tue 03-Sep-13 22:44:04

This is just awful.

I knew it happened but that box with the tags and the razors... Horrific.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 03-Sep-13 22:50:42

I hold my hands up and admit I know very little about this, I know what it is but I've not actually thought through the process IYSWIM. What shocked me (and its due to my ignorance) is the fact this is carried out by women on girls, family cutting children/grandchildren. Seeing those blades, used, knowing they gag and restrain fucking 5 yr olds? I just can't comprehend the absolute barbarity of this. On children. It makes me feel physically sick, listening to those women talking about the numbers of girls they cut/brutalise, talking about tradition, smiling as they describe how fucking brave those 5 yr olds are.

WetAugust Tue 03-Sep-13 23:51:02

I didn't watch Newsnight.

What I find really shocking is that there doesn't seem to have been any prosecutions for FGM in this country.

We are told that children are routinely taken back to the parents homeland to undergo FGM yet no one seems to notice in this country. Surely wounds like that wouldn't heal in the 6 weeks available in the longest school holiday?
What about the cases that go wrong. Do medical practitioners over here ever report this abuse?

It's a genuine question because we must enforce the law on FGM. I just get the feeling that we turn a blind eye.

Solo Tue 03-Sep-13 23:58:00

Not seen this tonight, but have seen many documentaries over the years.

We have a huge African population at Dd's school and I do often wonder about the young girls. I often wonder if there is anything I can do...I doubt it sad angry

ihearsounds Wed 04-Sep-13 00:22:25

There are prosecutions in this country. There isn't as many as what there should be however. There are many powers that police and other agencies have to intervene with this, and emergency steps can and do take place to stop this from happening. There is also specialist help and advice for the girls to have after fgm .
The met police have a dedicated project for fgm. There is something specifically in the child protection legislation that covers fgm, and what action should be taken, so if schools did notice or have concerns, they have protocol in place, people do notice, it's just for some reason this isn't a topic that seems to be in the public eye. Legislation has been in place since 1985 for female mutilation and since 2005 there has been the fgm act.

I didn't watch the program so I am unsure if any of the above has been mentioned, nor if it was mentioned that in some cultures, the age is immaterial and older girls are also affected.

What the hell? sad

swampster Wed 04-Sep-13 00:38:27

I recently heard some very good advice to give to girls who fear they may be taken abroad for FGM is to stick a spoon in their pants. This will set off the metal detector in the airport and give the girls a chance to talk to officials who can prevent them leaving the country.

I couldn't watch it, I got an error message.

swampster Wed 04-Sep-13 00:39:00

The YouTube clip that is, not Newsnight.

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 13:39:41


According to here dated 7 Jul 2013 the Crown prosecution have yet to bring any prosecutions for FGM in the UK.

So a law which has been in existence for a considerable period has not been enforced.

Law is useless if you don't intend to punish those who break it.

kiery Wed 04-Sep-13 13:54:42

I didn't manage to catch the newsnight report but listened to the article on women's hour that day highlighting the newsnight report.
FGM is so horrific and it is appaling what girls and women go through this.
This must stop. I really hope campaigners can make a difference.
It made me think of Chinese foot binding; girls died from infection caused by the horrific practice and it did affect women all their lives. I dont know enough about either; but what made public opinion change in china for this mutilation to stop? Could it work with FGM?

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 14:06:00

Unlike foot binding it's not visible. It's also non-PC to go around inspecting..... so it remains hidden.

But health care workers must routinely see cases and why oh why if, as Ihearsounds states, that we legislated against this 27 years ago!!!! have we never actually prosecuted anyone?

You need to make a stand through public prosecution and its consequent publicity.

It's an absolute disgrace that we are too <whatever> to stop this happening.

RestlessSoul Wed 04-Sep-13 15:50:17

Unbelievable.....the levels of sheer ignorance of biology and medicine. Itchy clitoris?! Leaking fluids....I don't know any woman who complains about this...are we all exceptions?

It's not even islamic. like, at all it is some backwards tribal African custom that has spread, I know plenty of muslim women and not one from the middle east has had it done, none of the asians have had it done, none of the turkish/russian/etc. the only muslim women I know who have had this done to them are older and from Africa.

They have told me that nothing in Islam condones this.

Theas18 Wed 04-Sep-13 16:01:10

I also understand there have never been any prosecutions for it. Didn't see the program but have seen many and had training on it.

I am sure it must go on locally and we are just pussyfooting around because it's not PC to check girls bits at any age just because they are from an at risk cultural background. No idea how, otherwise we can prevent/detect without lining the girls up annually and looking.... but then again that would be " abuse" wouldn't it? and actually the poor girls who are really at risk/have been cut would wither not appear at school, ever, or would be mysteriously poorly on the day of the check ( because you'd have to get permission from the parents, in advance..)

So whilst I have training and high levels of suspicion I have no idea how we are really going to change things?

Loving the "spoon in pants" plan. That needs to be made public and maybe the finding of the spoon in a girls pants a simple " we are detaining this child" without anything else being said!

SPBisResisting Wed 04-Sep-13 18:01:04

Oh how ridiculous. He's just an ignorant idiot who sees fit to tell women how it feels to have a clitoris

SPBisResisting Wed 04-Sep-13 18:02:17

Theas, girls are checked as far as I am aware in some areas of the country. Also it is noted when women deliver, and children are considered at risk if the woman has been a victim.
That is as I understand it, I would love to have the facts confirmed.

Solo Wed 04-Sep-13 23:20:04

What I don't understand is why Mothers that have had this done to them and therefore know the pain, the dangers and the total wrongness (is that even a word?!) of fgm, still put their daughters through it. Why?! why, why, WHY?!!! angry

WetAugust Wed 04-Sep-13 23:45:15

Do you honestly believe that women have any say at all in that sort of society? confused

They don't.

They do what they are told to do.

By the men.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Sep-13 11:06:40

Hey everyone,

Popping on to post a link to the full Newsnight report (of which the link above is a clip); thought it might be of interest. WARNING - it's quite distressing (though not graphic).

Solo Thu 05-Sep-13 12:54:52

No WetAugust but there are a lot of African women that live over in the UK, but return to Africa for the holidays and bring their daughters back missing a part of their body. What I'm saying is why do these Mothers allow it to happen when they have been through it themselves (I'm assuming they didn't volunteer to have it done to themselves) and have chosen to become British Citizens and live here.

Solo Thu 05-Sep-13 12:58:30

Just to add, I now have a lot of African friends and I'm still trying to summon up the courage to ask the question! My Dd's best friend is of African parents and I have to say that I'm terrified for her...her Mum is though, quite westernised in her approach and her life, but her Mother is not.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 13:00:02

How do you know that Solo?

Because if you do know that to be fact you should be reporting those people as the criminals they are.

Perhaps then we would have the first prosecution for it in the 28 years since we made it illegal.

Or are the lack of prosecutions evidence that this is not happening on the scale we believe it to be?

Solo Thu 05-Sep-13 13:26:30

This has been reported on countless times over the years ~ even on this forum this has been spoken of. That is why it's incredulous that there has been nothing done, no arrests and no convictions.

I don't know what the answer is.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 16:05:56

The answer is to stop using 'multiculturalism' as an excuse for the fact that children are being mutilated by their parents.

If I was daft enough to subscribe to something that dictated I had to chop off my child's pinkie finger I would be prosecuted.

But if I cut out her clitoris although I should be prosecuted almost certainly won't be.

But to enforce the law you'd have to either inspect every child regardless of ethnic origin - imagine the outcry.

Or confine your inspections to the children within the communities that traditionally perform this mutilation - imagine the outcry.

So, we do nothing.

PC has a lot to answer for. In fact it's not PC - it's just fucking dereliction of duty and stupidity.

Solo Thu 05-Sep-13 17:49:13

I absolutely agree with you.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 23:00:52

Right now! On Newsnight. The Director of Public prosecutions is going to explain why there hasn't yet been a prosecution for FGM in Britain.

Will update when he tells us.

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 23:15:28

DPP Kier Starmer

This is what he said:

Prosecution would send strong signal that it's a serious offence and prosecutions should be brought.

In France children are regularly in France inspected (they have made over 100 prosecutions)

FGM criminalised in 1985, but until 2010 not a single file had been considered by CPS

He agreed they had been waiting for victim to walk through door of Police Station

Says we need an intelligence led strategy

Has set up 'round table'' to see how they can go ahead with victimless prosecution.

Have now completed covert ops and are closer to a prosecution.

Need clear guidance for HCP on what to report and when

"Moving much closer to a prosecution."

Says we have to appreciate that the cases shown by Newsnight are "difficult to follow up". Victims did not want to press for prosecution.

Says they did risk assessments to the health of the victim before deciding whether to prosecute.

Reiterates need for 'victimless prosecution'.

He says saying "we are much closer" and it will be intelligence led.

Cannot give a date by which any prosecution will be brought.

Have made "steps in the right direction" in a "very difficult area of the law".

So - to summarise, in my opinion - more pussy-footing about.

What is so difficult about noticing that a child has been mutilated and dragging its parents to the nearest Police Station to explain how and when this happened.

Oooops - I forgot, their misguided interpretation of 'multiculturalism' prevents them from doing that. The Met police Officer that preceded the DPP interview seemed to imply that his hands were tied.

Does make me very angry.

Solo Thu 05-Sep-13 23:31:53

Yes, nothing definite actually happening still hmm

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 23:35:06

It's depressing isn't it. It's worse than depressing it's criminal behaviour that is being condoned by the State for fear of upsetting a minority.

Very, very wrong.

msrisotto Thu 05-Sep-13 23:38:57

Thanks for the link Sarah, I'll mark my place so I can watch it tomorrow

bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 23:46:16

i don't get it. we prosecute statutory rape cases. they don't always have victims agreement... what can be done by us? where should we lobby for this abuse of female children to be taken seriously??

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 23:53:41

I am so tempted to write to the DPP and tell him he was less than convincing to me that he was actually doing something about this.

I cannot conceive how you can have a 'victimless prosecution'. Surely the whole basis of criminal law is that you need a victim?

We can protect the identities of victims.

I think the Police and DPP have totally tied themselves in knots over this, probably with a bit of Human Rights law thrown into the mix.

For example, you detect a mutilated child. You ascertain the parents commissioned the mutilation. You prosecute the parents.

But what happens to the victim?

Both the victim and her parents have the right to a family life under HR law.

If the victim wants to continue living with the perpetrators can you overrule and say No. You cannot reasonably remove her for her own protection because the deed has already been done and so will not be repeated so there is nothing to protect her against.

Where would you remove her to without ostracizing her from her community?

It is difficult I agree - but not insurmountable. France seems to be able to bring successful prosecutions.

MariaLuna Thu 05-Sep-13 23:55:03

I recently heard some very good advice to give to girls who fear they may be taken abroad for FGM is to stick a spoon in their pants. This will set off the metal detector in the airport and give the girls a chance to talk to officials who can prevent them leaving the country.

Please everyone, spread the word, I have them on my FB.


MariaLuna Thu 05-Sep-13 23:56:33
bemybebe Thu 05-Sep-13 23:57:27

this is a good start Maria!

WetAugust Thu 05-Sep-13 23:57:50
WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 00:02:39

The French take a much more robust view than we do - the act of FGM alone is sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Common sense that we are too <insert reason here> to apply.

vixsatis Fri 06-Sep-13 10:53:43

The critical difference in France seems to be that the offence relates not just to the act of mutilation but also to the act of allowing or procuring the mutilation of a child in one's care. This must make "proof" much easier and less relant on victim evidence which is not going to be forthcoming.

France generally also seems to have been less blinded by multiculturalism. If something is barbaric, then it is barbaric no matter what the ethnic or cultural associations.

I think it is true that enforcement of the law does need to go hand in hand with changing opinions within the relevant groups. Women do it to their daughters because they fear that the daughter will never get married or will suffer physical detriment if they do not

Wellwobbly Fri 06-Sep-13 11:16:29

I simply cannot watch any of that sort of thing. The anguished shrieks of the children is unbearable.

This is NOT an islamic practice, but the islamic ummah needs to have a word with their African brethren.

It is in fact Phaeronic in origin. It is a practise coming out of ancient Egypt and extends as far down as central Kenya (the Masai tribes). 90% of Egyptian girls are 'circumcised', and shockingly it is the women who inflict it on their girls.

There is in fact a lot of peer group pressure, for instance in Nigeria where girls who are not 'circumcised' are shamed for not being so.

The British in colonial times tried to stamp it out by banning it and hanging the 'midwives'.

I think the British government should be very, very clear with immigrant populations. This is barbaric, illegal and a violation. Your daughters WILL be checked at school. IF they are discovered to have been genitally mutilated, ALL BENEFITS including housing will be stopped, you will be evicted and you will be deported.

But hand wringers would never have the guts.

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 11:21:46

Benefits? Deported? What if neither of these is an option?
Surely the brst solution is simply to prosecute for actual bodily harm on a child?

Wellwobbly Fri 06-Sep-13 11:38:56

Yes, you are right. My comments come back to the old question which used to be not allowed

'What constitutes being British?' We have worked long and hard, and suffered many civil wars, the civil wars that they are going through and running away from, to have the values and the history and the institutions we do. Our institutions are important.

I don't have any multi culti hand wringing about this issue whatsoever. What the British Government giveth, the British Government can taketh away!

Wellwobbly Fri 06-Sep-13 11:39:35

*their countries

williaminajetfighter Fri 06-Sep-13 11:41:30

Yes, 'prosecution is near' - I bet.

It blows my mind that social workers are taking away kids from their parents for all sorts of reasons - but not this...

My DH works for the dept for intl development and he said not only do they have a number of antiFGM initiatives overseas but also some within the UK. And still nothing happens.

It also blows my mind that there are, like, 50 posters promoting breastfeeding in my doctors office - produced by a million agencies. But in all my time living in the UK I've NEVER EVER seen a poster or any awareness information about FGM. Why would people come forward if there was no call for them to do so?

Doctors will see this all the time especially in maternity ward as women who have this can tend to have significant difficulties with labour - as well as a history of UTIs. If doctor's know then surely there is a way to alert authorities that this is a trend that may run in a familiy?

Never forget one person describing that the end result is a woman's 'bits' looking and feeling 'smooth like the palm of your hand'. Delightful.

MoominMammasHandbag Fri 06-Sep-13 12:17:33

I am really not trying to sidetrack this very important issue, but male circumcision has a lot of similarities doesn't it? It is performed without the child's consent, justified for spurious hygiene, aesthetic and masturbation reasons and there is growing evidence that it impacts negatively on a man's sexual enjoyment. Surely it is all genital mutilation that should be banned, not just female?

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 12:24:07

'I think the British government should be very, very clear with immigrant populations. This is barbaric, illegal and a violation. Your daughters WILL be checked at school.'

Completely agree with this. There is no room for hand-wringing or tip-toeing around people's 'beliefs' when their children's bodies are being permanently damaged. I think this should apply to male circumcision too. It's physical, emotional and sexual abuse - these are all things we are not supposed to be tolerating in this country.

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 12:31:56

What, send the children and the women back to a place where this is considered okay?

Why not just prosecute those carrying it out?

williaminajetfighter Fri 06-Sep-13 12:40:02

agree completely that male circumcision is equally dreadful although FGM more brutal and results in many more health problems I think. Making it illegal for hospitals or communities to perform would make sense..

However have a feeling that won't go down in the jewish community!

Lastofthepodpeople Fri 06-Sep-13 12:41:40

There is definitely a lot more that can be done to identify children at risk and protect them.

DH is a recently qualified teacher at a secondary school with a large immigrant population. A little while ago, we were discussing children being taken overseas to be forcibly married (not FGM but I think there are parallels) and I asked if he had any training as to the sort of red flags that might show if a child is at risk, and he said they'd been given no training at all which I thought was shocking. They have a social worker attached to the school (I think) who is supposed to deal with problems but none of the teachers are trained on what to look out for.

There needs to be a concerted effort to provide teachers and doctors with the necessary training to recognise possible red flags indicating a child might be at risk and a procedure in place so they know what to do.

ANormalOne Fri 06-Sep-13 12:42:02

Ermmmmm, what about MGM? At least FGM is illegal, in all it's variations, MGM is perfectly legal.

Lastofthepodpeople Fri 06-Sep-13 12:46:00

I think if there were the will at government level, there could be significant progress made.

Like someone else said, if someone chopped off another body part, that child would be automatically removed and the person responsible would face prosecution.

A zero tolerance approach could make a huge difference.

TheGirlFromIpanema Fri 06-Sep-13 12:47:50

Firstly I should say I agree that male circumcision is also a horrible, cruel thing to do.

But and it is a but, FGM and MGM are not comparable crimes at all.

ANormal - you could campaign for laws to be changed regarding MGM.
At the moment though it is already against the law for FGM to happen, yet sadly it still does, and no prosecutions have been brought angry

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 12:49:38

We had some training at work (NHS worker) the other day about culture and religion in the south Asian community. FGM was discussed briefly (it wasn't the main focus of the course) and the trainer pointed out that FGM is not mentioned anywhere in the Koran and is nothing to do with Islam. She said that MGM is a requirement of Islam and that her personal view was that MGM was also wrong, but that 'you can't challenge people's religion' - meaning that because it's written down in a holy book, it's totally non-negotiable. I found this a really depressing statement, although I could see where she was coming from

But completely agree with other posters - if someone wanted to chop off another part of their child, it would be considered indefensible, quite rightly.

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Fri 06-Sep-13 12:53:46

It saddens me that FGM is illegal and treated with disgust but the male equivalent (circumcision) is legal due to 'religious beliefs'.

These 'religious beliefs' are just as ridiculous as the claim that a 'clitoris makes women itch and leak water'.

We are striving for equality in everything else these days, why not this?

Mutilating a child's body should be illegal for both genders, not just girls.

People should be able to make their own minds up whether or not they want pieces of their flesh scraped off. And they can't reasonably make this decision until they are an adult.

Anyway, rant over. Glad I didn't watch. The laughter at the end of the above clip was enough to turn my stomach.

WhatWillSantaBring Fri 06-Sep-13 12:57:41

I can't remember who it was up thread who said that what needs to change (amongst many things) is the actual law itself. Because the act of FGM happens once and (generally?) overseas, I can see just how hard it must be to prosecute the perpetrator of that assault. So change the threshold. If you are the parent/guardian of a child and you knew or reasonably ought to have known that FGM would happen, then that should be a crime.

Obviously, you'd have to put in safeguards for those poor women (and I'm sure there are plenty) who have no say in this, (perhaps it can be a defence to say that you reported your suspicions) but at least that would be a start to changing the culture?

Agree also on posters in hospitals etc highlighting that its a crime and the potential consequences?

And FFS, we need to stop being so fucking PC about "oh, you can't just monitor girls in the affected population, because that's discriminatory". Surely its no different from only screening certain ethnicities for sickle cell anaemia?

And I was also wondering about MGM? Apart from the age and risk of complications, genuinely please someone tell me why it is different?

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 13:02:30

I work in Children's Centres and I have seen posters about FGM, saying that no religious doctrine supports FGM and it can leave women with horrific health problems.
Agree there is nowhere near enough publicity about it though

I think the difference with MGM is that it doesn't change sexual function or the experience of sexual pleasure, whereas FGM often does. I agree it's still utterly barbaric though.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 13:07:21

I agree with others that it is fear of being accused of being racist that is often stopping anyone making a stand on it. Its a vile process and how a mother can do that to her daughter is beyond me tbh.

I didnt realise that there were NO prosecutions. It shows that something is stopping the UK from bringing people to court for this horrible horrible crime against someone else.

handcream Fri 06-Sep-13 13:08:24

I do also wonder whether its to do with male dominance over women. Sew it up and then you will be under our control.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 06-Sep-13 13:18:22

Of course it is, Handcream. Gotta control that itch. hmm

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 13:20:55

'I do also wonder whether its to do with male dominance over women'

It totally is handcream. Sew it up and your 'honour' will be intact. And you won't experience any sexual pleasure so you won't feel tempted to put it about before you get sold married

Women who haven't been mutilated are considered unclean and not fit for marriage. In a culture where women have no worth other than as wives and mothers, I can begin to understand why mothers insist on their daughters being cut, where the choice is to do what you're told or become a complete social outcast. Not defending the practice for a second but I think that putting all the blame on the women in the situation is short sighted. Women in these cultures don't have any right to make their own decisions, they have to follow the rules set by men sad angry

chillinwithmyyonis Fri 06-Sep-13 13:21:13

I think before you can have an intelligent debate on FGM, you perhaps need to educate yourself on the demographics of where FGM occurs, Africa is a continent not a country. Its a bit thick to say you're concerned about 'african' children at your dc's school or 'african' families that you know, when you don't actually know what country they are from and whether FGM occurs in that country.

I have both Nigerian (christian south) and South African IL's and they'd frankly be insulted if I brought up FGM as it is not part of their culture at all. Actually along large swathes of mid to south african countries and far north eastern countries, according to WHO data, it doesn't occur or there is no data to state otherwise. And apparently it also occurs in the middle east, asia and parts of central and south america.

bemybebe Fri 06-Sep-13 13:39:41

I am totally against circumcision of boys unless medically required. However, to fight genital mutilation as a gender-neutral issue is to disregard the enormous differences between MG and FG mutilation.

There were studies and FGM phycological and physiological trauma to girls just cannot compare to that of boys. Sad, but this is not gender neutral. both are disgusting though.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 06-Sep-13 13:52:56

Chillin, it is certainly practised quite widely in Nigeria though, although more among the Muslim population. So perhaps less of the "a bit thick"? It occurs across a wide band of the continent, from East, where it is more prevalent, to west. It is not practised, as far as I am aware, in the south - roughly from Cameroon down.

scallopsrgreat Fri 06-Sep-13 14:24:58

"It saddens me that FGM is illegal and treated with disgust" But it isn't treated with disgust. That is the whole problem. You might treat it with disgust, I might treat it with disgust but those with the power to do anything about it don't. That is why it is still happening. That is why there are no prosecutions.

pyrrah Fri 06-Sep-13 14:53:08

I believe that MGM is no longer carried out under the NHS except for medical reasons and that parents now have to pay privately for it to be done in a clinic (not the kitchen table).

A male friend of mine who was circumcised as an adult said that it had caused a considerable decrease in sensation and sexual pleasure for him.

(A rather odd reason for not circumcising men is that the foreskin doesn't form keloid scarring and so can be used to create things like new eyelids should the owner be badly burnt or disfigured... I'm sure you all wanted to know that!)

I did see a lot of posters on FGM in the antenatal dept of St Thomas's in London and details of helplines should your daughter be at risk.

WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 15:07:40

It's become 'the old chestnut' that gets regularly resurrected by the BBC, the Press etc - but no one actually does anything to stop it.

But at least the DPP has told us why there have been no prosecutions - because they have been waiting for a victim to walk into a Police Station and press charges. hmm

They may as well wait until hell freezes over.

WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 15:09:57

I did see a lot of posters on FGM in the antenatal dept of St Thomas's in London and details of helplines should your daughter be at risk.

If that statement was not such a sad indictment of how little we understand the pressures and culture that permits this - it would be funny. Unfortunately it's just ridiculous.

MoominMammasHandbag Fri 06-Sep-13 15:15:42

I think there is evidence that MGM leads to decreased sexual pleasure: many millions of nerve endings in the foreskin itself plus desensitisation of the unprotected penis.
I may be cynical but I imagine if male genital mutilation was illegal then the law would be far more vigorously enforced.
And the excuses that mutilators of both sexes trot out are virtually identical.

Lottapianos Fri 06-Sep-13 15:17:43

I stand corrected on the 'no reduction of sexual sensation' issue re MGM. Just another reason to loathe the practice even more

Clawdy Fri 06-Sep-13 15:21:16

The "spoon in pants" thing is a great idea, but surely now so many people are discussing it in many areas of the media,all that will happen is that every girl's luggage and clothing will be searched by the families before they leave?

MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 06-Sep-13 15:26:43

Hi everyone - if you're interested, do check out our site content on FGM, including this newly launched video page about a school's awareness-raising project.

You can also catch up on what the Gov is doing to tackle FGM in the UK (and to support its eradication worldwide) here, from DFID minister Lynne Featherstone's MN webchat on FGM earlier this year.


motownmover Fri 06-Sep-13 15:31:26

I also do not think the spoon idea will work - if people who are claiming asylum because of fears of fgm and they are still being sent back then how will it really help anyone else travelling?

Great reporting on NNight though - fantastic reporting.

motownmover Fri 06-Sep-13 15:32:59

I thought paxman said they tried to get Lynne Featherstone on NN but she declined??

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 15:54:22

Do threads about circumcision have derailers people asking "but what about the FGM?"

love to find out I'm wrong but sadly I doubt it

SPBisResisting Fri 06-Sep-13 15:54:54

Just like DV threads - but women hit men too you know hmm

CocoCha Fri 06-Sep-13 16:56:06

Genital mutilation is genital mutilation. Until law over rides religion we will continue to tip toe around peoples misguided beliefs. People who inflict this are no better than the paedophiles who derive pleasure from torture. Unfortunately no one appears to have the appetite to police this.

A good start would be to Ban ALL circumcision - unless medically necessary and bring in school nurses for medicals.

asmaray Fri 06-Sep-13 17:06:20


chillinwithmyyonis Fri 06-Sep-13 17:09:23

MrsSchadenfreude, no it is not practiced widely across Nigeria, have you checked out the WHO demographics on FGM? The majority of Nigeria is inhabited by Christians who do not practice FGM. The north, minority, is inhabited by the Hausa, muslims who do probably practice FGM. And yes it is 'thick' to generalise about 'africans', as seen a lot of on this thread. FGM is not an 'african' issue as far as I can see, but a problem of specific countries some of which are african but it also exists in other parts of the world. And given that christian Nigerians make up one of the largest immigrant groups in the UK, its very insulting to see suggestions that school nurses should inspect 'african' girls for FGM, really? Maybe all child should be stripped down naked regularly by the school nurse and inspected for any sign of physical or sexual abuse or neglect. Would you be happy for that to happen to your dc? After all, its not just 'africans' that are subject to abuse is it?

CocoCha Fri 06-Sep-13 17:18:58

It's not Islamaphobia. It's concern about the brutalisation of children.

WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 17:20:04


Your comment is probably the most stupid I have ever seen on MN. Congratulations.

bemybebe Fri 06-Sep-13 17:40:00

"Islamophobia" Lol

Kendodd Fri 06-Sep-13 18:27:51

Islamophobia Sorry, what do you mean by this?

WetAugust Fri 06-Sep-13 19:58:38

... and Chillin's post is an example of what I mentioned well upthread. Outrage f you try to inspect any child.

Wellwobbly Fri 06-Sep-13 20:11:27

Asmaray, can you read??

"This is NOT an islamic practice, [but the islamic ummah needs to have a word with their African brethren].

It is in fact Phaeronic in origin, coming out of ancient Egypt and extends as far down as central Kenya (the Masai tribes)."

What part of any of this do you not understand?

ubik Fri 06-Sep-13 20:22:28

Read Aayan Hirsi Ali's book Infidel. She had FGM performed on her by her grandmother.

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Fri 06-Sep-13 22:35:48

Shallishanti Fri 06-Sep-13 23:43:06

actually, it's a good question about inspecting children- if all girls were 'inspected' -or we could call it examined, say as part of a school medical- families would know they would get caught. Would those of us whose children aren't at risk be prepared for our own DDs to be examined, for the sake of those who are at risk?

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 06:06:32

the spoon idea is good in theory (would work well also girls who fear they are being taken out of the UK for a forced marriage) but the trouble with using it for girls in fear of FGM is that most of them will be too young to have any awareness of what is about to happen to them anyway. Also once they have set off the detectors and are taken off for questioning at immigration their parents will realise what they have done and will probably punish them very harshly, and will try again another time, this time checking them for spoons!

In the case of an older girl who fears forced marriage she may be prepared to be taken straight from the airport to a safe house and never see her family again but a small child can't do that.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 06:10:08

Yes Shalli, the only way it would work would be if all children had to undergo periodic full checks by a nurse. It would have to be done with reasonable frequency though otherwise they'd just wait until after the check.

Perhaps on entry to nursery, then reception, then junior school, then senior school then at 15.

There should be a decent length of imprisonment for both parents - no exceptions whatsoever.

CocoCha Sat 07-Sep-13 06:56:46

Other countries have school medicals. I don't see why it's such a big deal. It would pick up an awful lot of abuse cases too.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 07:12:51

Maybe anyone who refuses to have their children examined periodically should have their CB stopped and any other benefit or tax credit that is given as the result of that child as well, so partial HB, etc.

It seems a ridiculously expensive and OTT solution to apply this to everyone - using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut obviously, but unfortunately to target people for checks who have strong cultural links to specific parts of Africa and Asia would just not get past the Political Correction Police.

CocoCha Sat 07-Sep-13 07:31:23

Sometimes we're so stupid in this country. We can imprison people for not paying a tv licence yet we can't stop children being horrifically abused & mutilated.

Priorities are what you make them.

This is a good film, but very very sad and disturbing.

This is an interesting organisation

SubliminalMassaging I don’t know for sure that the age of girls taken out of the UK for FGM is so young that they would not know what it was about, they may have a fear of FGM or forced marriage so the spoon idea gives them a chance to tell the world what is going to happen to them. We need to reinforce through schools and education a message for young women of all cultures that their bodies are precious, special, good as they are and most of THEIR bodies. And no one has a right to mutilate or dominate or take their freedom. We also need to encourage young women to know that their lives are important and even family responsibility should not negate their freedom to make their own marriage choices. This is the law of this country and we need to empower young women of a cultures, and young men who may also be pushed into forced marriages.

Parents need to get the message, it may be that they have pressure on them for older generations so this kind of community education needs to go right though the nation. But that times time and money and I am not sure how much the UK government is willing to commit to stamp out this FGM evil in our own country!

Shallishanti I would wholeheartedly support medical checks on children (and adults if necessary) and would be happy for me or my daughter to undergo an examination to make sure all is well in our bodies and to protect the bodies (and especially the private parts) of vulnerable children.

If these examinations detected children who were at risk or abuse of any sort this would be a good thing.

We knew for a fact children may find it hard to report any sort of abuse so by examining children’s bodies (including weighing them etc and checking private parts as part of a medical examination) society may well uncover all sorts of abuse and act on it quicker to save children.

Of course our private parts are just that, private, and it can be embarrassing to have them examined but as adult women we freely 'submit' to a smear or pap test many times in our lives and hopefully we would encourage our daughters (and sons) to go to the doctor for any medical concern.

Regular compulsory medical checks on children might uncover sexual abuse, FGM, other abuse, medical problems etc and might give children a chance to ask a doctor confidential questions e.g. Is everything normal because my penis is small, my arms are chubby, my legs are skinny etc! Children may have concerns and seeing a medical person where they can talk about their body etc might be very helpful.

It depends how children are told about it, if parents say “This will be scary/you will be embarrassed etc.” Or “This will be helpful; the person is a qualified medical person and can help if you are worried about anything.” They may feel fine. Little kids regularly undress at the beach or pool etc with no hint of embarrassment! As they get older they do feel ‘private’ rightly, but we would never want them to feel that a medical person could not see them or that could lead to fear of doctors and hospitals etc and fear of showing themselves to doctors!

Let’s be realistic, nowadays people (some people) go to a doctor on TV, they put their bums, boobs and bodies on display on ‘Embarrassing bodies’ and are not embarrassed! So if we teach kids from a young age bodies are not actually embarrassing and nothing is so awful you should feel you can’t tell a medially trained person and show them. How hopeful would that be!

If parent knew that their children would be regularly (could be annually or even only a few keys stages in life) examined and would have the chance to speak to a medical person, then if parents were abusing children sexually or in any way, including thinking of inflicting FGM on them, they would know this would be uncovered. Once abuse was uncovered it would not be the job of the child to report it but of the medical profession to take over and do what is necessary.
There are cultural consideration about FGM, it is not an Islamic practice but it has been adopted in some countries and places and those communities need good education which states clearly the medical facts of FGM and the legal obligation parents have to protect their children from this form of abuse. Getting mosque or communities on board to promote the law in this country and the medical facts about FGM would be very helpful.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 11:53:50

Well I can't disagree with any of that. To be honest, the most effective way to increase awareness of what may happen to these girls is to tell them at school from a very young age, like reception or year one that if their families come from any of the countries where it is routinely practised in large numbers then they too are at serious risk, and they should be on the lookout for signs that it might be about to happen, (talk of going 'home' in the long summer holidays, for a start, visiting elderly female relatives etc.) and to tell an unrelated adult in a professional capacity.

But in order to get the point across effectively it would need to be a very graphic and frank discussion that will inevitably involve what will seem like a certain amount of criticism of their families and their culture. I'm just not sure how on earth we achieve that, within the confines of political correctness 'cultural sensibilities' (to hell with those in this instance, I say, but sadly I'm not the one in charge!) and catch them while they are still young enough to not already have been mutilated. confused

Unless we are prepared to go really hardline with people from certain countries/cultures it's going to be very, very difficult to so anything that will make a meaningful difference.

I am just adding my voice against FGM.

I started a long involved post earlier and got so angry and ranty that I had to Step Away From MN blush.

I have seen the day to day effects that FGM can have in grown women who had undergone it as children. It is beyond description.

Yy we need prosecution and convictions. And resources to support the girls and women affected - both in terms of what reconstruction surgery is possible to allow them to have as good a degree of continence and safe childbirth as is possible and for the psychological effects it can have.


Re 'islamophobia' - I am actually speechless that that old chestnut gets brought up. Such pernicious nonsense that allows the practice to contiue unchecked.

If little white girls were being mutilated by their parents because they thought it was best, what would we say? No child should suffer this. The parents are not cruel (in my humble opinion) they are following a practice which they are told is good. It is our duty to point out the medical complications, the reality of the situation and dispel the myths that somehow the cliterous is a bad thing. If we were those little girls, we would want someone to do that. We cannot expect those children to turn against their parents and own culture, we must step in.

If you are moved by all this and want to write to your MP or anyone else, please share here what you are writing and who you are writing to and maybe others of us will join you in writing to them.

There are cultural considerations which (in my opinon) mean we need are and sensitivity but that does not equate to inaction.

Maybe those parents will feel a huge burden liften if they findout that the illegal act they thought they should allow to be done is actually not Islamic, is not beneficial for health, is not not good and is actually punishable. The parents are not the enemy in this case, they too are victims of a terrible practice which should be stamped out in our generation.

If you watch you will see the dilemah of the parents, they are torn because they are being told this is necessary but they are aware of what it is like. The documentary is very moving, it has highs and lows, and it shows how girls and women can make a difference.

happyhev Sat 07-Sep-13 13:33:55

I also echo italian greyhound, please write to your MP about this, and not just about the lack of prosecution, but also the fact that women and girls at risk of FGM in their home countries are having there applications for asylum rejected.

OxfordBags Sat 07-Sep-13 14:34:58

IMHO, it is racist to NOT try to stamp out this practice under the pretence of worrying it appears acist to condone it. Because underlying any rhetoric along the lines of "We shouldn't intefere, it's their culture/religion, etc.", are implied messages along the lines of 'it's not white/Western girls, so it doesn't matter', 'these people are backward savages, there's no reasoning with them', and other crap like that. Then you've got your plain old 'I'm alright, Jack' attitude, meaning that if it's not directly affecting you and yours, who gives a shit, right? hmm

This is an issue that transcends race, culture, religion, all of that. It is a human rights issue. What is done to these girls is dehumanisation.

And whilst I am certainly no fan of male circumcision, it is ignorant, divisive and potentially derailing to bring up the subject and compare it to FGM. There is a reason why it is called circumcision on males and genital mutilation on females. There is a reason why male circumcision is legal probably every country on Earth, whilst FGM is mostly banned - even in many or most of the countries where it is still widespread.

It is crass to compare something like loss of sexual sensation in a penis to what is done to victims of FGM, and the effects and agony it leaves them in on a daily basis forever. Reduced sexual pleasure Vs sexual agony and sex being made potentially lethal. It's like comparing mild asthma to end-stage lung cancer. Sexual sensation is subjective and individual, and some men will have less sensitive penises than others regardless of any of other factor, including circumcision. That some men suffer as a result of circumcision is sad, but it is simply not even in the same ball-park of the suffering, injuries and death caused by FGM (a lot of deaths maternal and infant deaths during or after labour in many countries are a result of FGM).

OxfordBags Sat 07-Sep-13 14:38:50

Also, in more positive news, there was an article in the Guardian Weekend a fortnight ago, about a female surgeon who is restoring sexual pleasure and a more regular appearance to victims of FGM:

happyhev Sat 07-Sep-13 17:21:52

Great post Oxford

SomethingOnce Sat 07-Sep-13 19:30:56

Shalli If all girls were 'inspected' -or we could call it examined, say as part of a school medical- families would know they would get caught. Would those of us whose children aren't at risk be prepared for our own DDs to be examined, for the sake of those who are at risk?

Yes, I would be prepared for this to happen, and for DSs. In fact, in order to prevent FGM and detect other forms of abuse, the signs of which may be visible on the body, I think this is an excellent idea. As Italiangreyhound said, it'd be easy enough for this to become regarded as normal and non-embarrassing. And FGM being so extreme, I assume it could be detected by nothing more than a brief visual inspection, without touch.

Many babies and toddlers are regularly weighed and seen nappyless by HVs, so it'd be a natural extension of that. Even to a very young child one could explain along the lines of the doctor/nurse/whoever 'checking to make sure your body is healthy'. A further benefit may be older children feeling more comfortable (as much is as ever possible for a teen), or at least less inhibited, about seeking medical help for particular health issues.

Jux Sat 07-Sep-13 19:47:38

If children were checked every year then it would be no big deal, would it? I would have been perfectly happy for dd to be checked, after all I took her to baby clinic at least once a month from birth (over-anxious first time mum). Babies/toddlers in this country are checked regularly in the early years so why stop?

I suspect the answer is money, but I also suspect that checks like that would save money in the long run, like smears and mammograms etc?

Pixel Sat 07-Sep-13 20:00:07

What, send the children and the women back to a place where this is considered okay?

Hmm, well obviously the women also think it's ok if they've inflicted it on their daughters despite being warned. Hopefully they will go home and reinforce the message that FGM won't be tolerated in the UK, meaning future immigrants will be more likely to abide by our laws if they want to stay. And sadly it's a bit late for the poor child by then isn't it, once it's done it's done. I know that sounds harsh, really I do, but I'm also full of rage that some people can be ready to accept all the benefits of living in our 'free' society yet bring this vile thing to our shores. These mothers should be rejoicing in the fact that their daughters should now be safe from FGM as they have UK law to back them up if pressured by their 'culture'. If they had clearer warnings when they entered the country, and our govt had the guts to follow through with punishments then we'd have more chance of stamping this out.

Hear, hear, Oxford, I could not agree more.

SeaSickSal Sat 07-Sep-13 21:24:05

One thing did occur to me re the article about France. It said some of the cases were discovered as there were complications and the children were taken to hospital which led to the prosecutions.

I think possibly that part of the reason why there have been no prosecutions is because they are a double edged sword. If prosecutions occurred in the UK it's highly likely that if there were cases with complications their parents simply wouldn't take them for treatment leading to even worse health problems or death.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 07-Sep-13 23:12:07

oxford I think a lot of the strange comparisons to male circumsision are because people who make them have no idea at all of why one is not essentially considered to be mutilation and the other is, they pretty much have no idea of exactly what female genital mutilation actually is and think that just because they both involve genitals then they are both the same.

I know as sure as anything that if cutting bits off had to be done I would much much prefer to be a bloke.

The only type of FGM I am familure with (due to a particular client group) and I know there are about 4 different levels of it is the one that involves pulling the inner lips cliterious and outer lips quite far out and cutting starting quite a bit behind but not beyond the top of the vagina area and ending the cut almost at the bottom of the vagina and the rolling inwards what is left of the outer lips and stitching them together sometimes almost sewing almost the entire area up.

The stitching up is not done to close the wound nor is it done to prevent infection or aide healing,its done for no reason other than to make sure no sex can happen so no care is taken with the sewing and often only a very tiny hole is left to urinate through.

The risk of infection even infections that can cause death is very high the scaring is shocking and the risk of the flesh under the stitching dying and rotting is also high. And it does not end there some years later these women are AGAIN mutilated as part of there wedding ritual because they have to be cut open where they were stitched up so a few hours later there husband can abuse them by having sex so soon when the area is raw newly cut open and more than likely to be needing proper medical attention.

In between both attacks there is also increased risk of other infections and I've heard women in support groups describe the physical pain as never going away.

I've also known of women risking or being subjected to honor attacks with fire or boiling water or beating out of demons for trying to stop this happening to there own daughters.

Its so far removed from MC even when that's also wrong.

OxfordBags Sat 07-Sep-13 23:32:45

I agree, SRP. Or rather, I hope that they are totally ignorant as to how bad FGM is compared to male circumcision, otherwise it means that they are grotesquely hijacking the issue for some very grim reasons.

The FGM you describe is the one I also know most about. Leaving one tiny, inadequate hole for a female to piss and menstruate through, then have be what really shouldn't be described as neutrally as 'sex' through upon marriage is not just mutilation but extreme forced body modification. If the practice of FGM didn't exist but then some sicko came up with the notion for a film, it'd be at the Human Caterpillar end of the extreme horror spectrum.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 08-Sep-13 00:03:31

I agree and will confess that when people do it unless its obviously because they are asking what why ect I have a huge urge to shout ODFOD just incase its down to the whole oh let's be all jolly and equal trend, because that gives me the rage there are a few things that are not comparable at all between what is inflicted on men and women and the impact is so much more significant for a woman,it may not be trendy to admit it but its true.

I'm certain if a horror film was made about it it would not be legal to show in the UK.

There is also a huge lack of understanding about just how much impact honour attacks and killings have on people's behaviour and how it contributes towards forced marriage and FGM a few years ago I worked with a woman who had been beaten with a belt until she couldn't run away then set on fire because she tried to get police help, its why I think HCP's should be forced to report FGM directly to the police and medical evidence alone should be enough to secure a conviction. But even then its still just shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

confuddledDOTcom Sun 08-Sep-13 00:20:20

I do agree with what people have said about MGM when comparing it to what is being talked about in the YouTube link (I've not seen News Night yet) but there is an attitude difference in the two. In America they tried to bring in a law that would allow a ritual pin prick to draw blood and appease the families that wanted to circumcise their daughters. This was rightly rejected. To compare that to MGM is the reverse and still they're both wrong. There are forms of FGM that are similar to what's generally done to boys (the pink prick and removing the foreskin) but no way would it ever be allowed and it shouldn't be!

What should be the case is if you cause physical harm to your child or cause someone else to then you and they will be prosecuted. I was reading a discussion awhile ago on a doctors forum about how MGM could already be seen as illegal in the UK. It certainly is in the USA because constitutionally you can't make a law that just protects one group so the moment they made a law to protect girls they made it to protect boys. All it will take is boys born since that law was made to turn 18 and prosecutions will start. 117 boys die in America each year because of it, not so many die here, but they do. Far more boys suffer damage than die though, some severe damage the boys who end up having their penis amputated, all boys are damaged to smaller extent.

I'm not comparing the two, I'm not trying to derail, it should never be acceptable to harm a child, or even an adult.

As far as religion is concerned, everyone should have the freedom to choose their own religion. Choosing your own religion doesn't mean forcing damage onto your child. Even as a Christian I don't have my children "christened" because I can't make them Christians and I can't choose for them.

confuddledDOTcom Sun 08-Sep-13 00:22:39

That was a cross post there, I do know what happens in FGM but I also know that there are lesser versions that are seen as more terrible than MGM.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 08-Sep-13 00:29:45

With FGM one slightly lesser version leaves a hole a bit bigger but still not big enough,

Its an action designed to damage with the sole intention of preventing sex and future sexual pleasure to prove purity with no other reason at all.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 00:32:47

YY to everything you say, SRP. On the subject of some wanting to compare it to male circumcision, there has been, over the last few years, a growing and noticeable trend in people - usually male misogynists, but some 'merely' misguided people of both sexes - calling any discussion about crimes commited mainly or solely against women 'misandrist' (which appears to be the tiresome, and usually incorrectly-used buzzword for a certain group of knobbers) or overlooking the suffering that men also go through either due to the same or similar crimes, albeit in miniscule numbers compared to women, or some crime that's vaguely linked. We are crazed, man-hating feminazis who want men to suffer if we concentrate on the majority of victims, who happen to be female. And try pointing out the fact that it is the same misogyny in society that allows women to be raped and abused that allows the smaller percentage of male victims to also suffer, and they lose their shit.

Of course, the inference is always that male rape, domestic violence against men, male circumcision is actually worse, that they are more serious crimes and that it matters more about the male victims (although I don't believe circumcised men are actually victims), whilst simultaneously, men should not be held accountable for their part in perpetrating the majority of these crimes, against males or females.

Sorry to not stick entirely to FGM as the topic, but this trend really does my head in.

Drives me mad when people think that if problem A upsets or annoys you, them that automatically means that you don't care about problem B. So immature and it totally derails things.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 08-Sep-13 00:46:42


Yet every single woman who has had FGM suffers damage,every single one, not a % not a few not even a lot but every one. And the first action results in it having to be undone at a later date.

So women have there genitals mutilated then left in a shocking state usually with apsolutly no medical help then years down the line subjected again to another mutilation to prepare them for sexual abuse only a few hours after the second mutilation.

You are right with it being Wrong for both genders.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 00:48:07

Confuddled, MGM is NOT a proper term, it was made up by people with an anti-circumcision agenda. Whilst it is anyone's right to complain about circumcision, it is an abominable insult to even imagine that male circumcision ever starts to get close to comparing to the abomination of FGM, the physical travesties wreaked upon millions of females, year after year. MGM is not a legally or medically used or accepted term, precisely for the reasons I've just made, and so much more.

In male cicrcumcision, a piece of flesh is removed that the penis can still fully function without, although that doesn't of course mean it's a great idea. However, the male can urinate, masturbate, maintain erections, have sex of all sorts, get women pregnant, and so on. Compare that to a 14 year old bride who has merely a tiny hole where her genitals and urethra should be, looking like a Barbie doll's crotch, and her husband cuts her open with a ceremonial knife on their wedding night and fucks an open wound that was made to be virtually impossible to open even the tiniest fraction. Imagine the pain, not just when you have to have sex with him - which you can't refuse in your culture, either - but st all times, how dangerous and sirty it must be nit to be able to just take a simple wee, or menstruate in a normal fashion. Imagine having to be cut open for sex more than once because of FGM. Imagine being a 15 yr old victim of FGM giving birth. Imagine that. Imagine, if you and the baby survive, the horrific, lifelong injuries you could well suffer, injuries that make you taboo and unclean in your society and have your whole community shun you.

Then imagine that and compare it to sex being subjectively a bit less arousing than you imagine it is for other men. Yeah, the two situations totally compare.

It's sad that some boys die or the op goes wrong for others. Of course it is. But we are talking here about millions of women being mutilated horribly and suffering unimaginably for their whole lives, dying in droves when giving birth, or afterwards.

FGM and male circumcision differ so radically in terms of extremity of mody modification, suffering and numbers of victims who either die or suffer, that it's offensive to even link the two, just because they both happen to the genitals does not make them comparable. I made the point earlier that it is like insisting that mild asthma is part of a discussion about terminal ling cancer. Just because they both affect the lungs doesn't mean they are equal in severity. The asthma is horrible, of course, but it does not and cannot compare to the cancer.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 00:55:04

Must add, SRP makes an excellent point about FGM harming 100% of females who have suffered it. And, although I don't have the stats, the death rates for FGM are miles, miles higher. Not just when it is done, but through infections that could strike at any time due to the severity of mutilation done, the problems caused by losing one's virginity ot sex in general, giving birth, recovering from birth, etc.

And male circumcision is done on newborns. Not that that makes it okay, of course not, but they do not remember the pain and do not know any other stae for their penis to be in. FGM is done on girls that remember it; not just in their minds, but in their terrifyingly damaged bodies every day of their lives after it happens to them.

confuddledDOTcom Sun 08-Sep-13 00:59:00

I was only comparing it to the forms that are less or similar - such as the pin prick law the US tried to pass (which wouldn't have the same effect on sex) and removing the foreskin. Also to the fact it's physically damaging a child.

Anyway, all boys who are put through it are harmed by it! Even if it's done for medical reasons, even if it's less invasive than what is generally done in the US. I've seen it done for medical reasons and the man has a scar right in his urethra that makes him pee in several different directions just to name one of the problems he has.

Anyway, I spend far too much time on these debates, I seem to have too many groups and pages I've gotten added into, they're horrible acts against children, I have too many evil pictures in my head I can't wash out and not what I need right now. Feel free to take it to PM and I'll happily explain how it's not what I need. I guess nothing like what those girls go through so I should just leave my life at the door.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 01:07:24

Even the lesser forms of FGM are horrific compared to male circumcision. You simply cannot make the truth bend to fit your own agenda. Just because one is bad doesn't make something else less bad, or make the original problem more severe.

The peeing in several directions is a medical condition, whose name escapes me now, which has nothing to do with circumcision, or which can actually be helped by it. It is v naughty to suggest that circumcision is the cause od that condition.

The least awful level of FGM would be comparative to a boy having the head of his penis and both testicles removed.

AAAAND here I am debating with someone refusing to accept that FGM is worse than male circumcision after commenting on how those posters always derail the thread, arrrgh!

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 08-Sep-13 01:32:13

I forgot about a level 5 FGM that one is the same as the one we have been talking about only after sex she's stitched up again and this happens over and over again.

During childbirth the most frequent issues as a result of FGM are uterine rupture, sever often fatal bleeding and rectal fistula.

Sometimes due to the lack of healing as often the damage can not heal so even without restiching she will need to be cut open again quite often at about 28 weeks the hospital have to attempt to try and create an opening often not just on the lips of the vulva but the actual vagina as well due to scaring and the initial action actually narrowing the vagial opening they have to remove scar tissue and accumulated clotting due to the inadequate release of menstrual blood.

This unsurprisingly can cause infection still birth and death. But they need to try and get the woman's vagina to be able to fit 2 fingers in it because that massively reduces the huge risk at delivery.

I don't know about you but that terrifies me

crescentmoon Sun 08-Sep-13 07:54:47

that was a great article about that clinic in America bags, there are many women within those communities themselves who are also campaigning against FGM. in this article its a grandmother who had it done for her daughter but then by the time it came to her granddaughter intervened to stop the custom.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 08:53:18

Ah yes, crescent, I read that yesterday. It was encouraging; if only more women started to dare take a stand. And it's usually the female elders that do the cutting too, so if grandmothers stand up to them, it's their own peer group, generally, that they'll be appealing to.

Of course, what really needs to happen is for men to take a stand. Can't see that happening just yet. If only a famous man from one of the countries where FGM occurs would speak against it publicly, that would be a start.

And SRP, when I read that description, I can feel my mind scrambling to try to not retain the information, or at least, not to form pictures, arrgh. That this is the norm for a lot of females is beyond any horror story.

It also refuels my anger at the suggestion that there's any comparison between FGM and male circumcision. Obscene.

"I can feel my mind scrambling to try to not retain the information" - yy, me too sad. It all beggars belief, but then I am often left numb with what the Human Animal is capable of inflicting on its own kind.

I too think the male circumcision other than for medical reasons is wrong, but does not even begin to compare to the actual act AND consequences of FGM.

The practice is so ingrained in some culutures though that, as stated above, anybody who tries to resist or protect their daughters is subjected to such punishment that I can see how it just keeps going and going and going sad.
Coming back to the point of this thread, yes, we need prosectutions, and yes, we need convictions (even if the horse has bolted etc).

But actually I am hopeful that increasing globalisations (not in an economic sense, but just the world getting smaller via easier travel etc) will maybe create a change in attittue - at least girls who grew up here, even if they were forced to undergo FGM themselves, may have a desire to stop their daughters to suffer the same and may educate their sons that there is no 'itching and leaking'??

I suspect I am naive....

scallopsrgreat Sun 08-Sep-13 09:31:23

Thank you OxfordBags and SockReturningPuppet for your excellent posts. Really informative.

OxfordBags Sun 08-Sep-13 10:12:05

Thank you, scallops. I wish I didn't know so much about it, but knowledge is power and all that.

And Pacific, YY to what you write too. Especially to boys being educated. There was a documentary about FGM a few years ago, and they are told all sorts of myths, like the ones you mention. They are even told that the clitoris will keep on growing if not cut, and that Western women use them penises, or keep them rolled up in their pants or something ridiculous like that.

I too hope that globalisation will help attitudes change, but I feel pessimistic, as studies often show that immigrants living in a culture very different from their home one will, more often than not, become more traditional and fixated with following the traditions of their homeland, even to the extent where you'll get people doing more extreme things in the new country that they didn't at home. And, unfortunately, in most cultures, the responsibility is on women and their bodies as the locus of maintaining cultural identity through traditional practices, however harmful.

Oxford, so true about immigrants becoming more fixated on the culture of their origing. But - some will move out of their own culture, marry outwith of it etc. Some. Not enough, for sure. And not a solution to the problem.

I just don't know that there is one single solution that will 'fix' it all.

Like you, I wish I knew less.

I work with somebody who in the past worked in HIV/sexual health for the WHO (mainly in Southeast Asia). He knows more than is good for him about child prostitution - he is know father to twin girls and it's making him ill.

I am finding the balance between wanting to achieve change and self-protection a hard one to strike. Which I why I find threads like this and coming across knowledgable and committed people really heartening.
So thanks for that, everybody smile

somewherewest Sun 08-Sep-13 13:44:09

And whilst I am certainly no fan of male circumcision, it is ignorant, divisive and potentially derailing to bring up the subject and compare it to FGM

Yes. At least one obstacle to dealing with FGM is the "oohhh but what about male circumcision?" crowd. The two are not remotely comparable.

CountryCob Sun 08-Sep-13 15:13:04

I can understand why men are blamed but i am not sure it is that simple, came as a surprise to me but I have done field work not related to fgm and encountered it, the men had nothing to do with it the mums decided when and I was invited as a way of integrating me into the women group as a friendly gesture didn't go but couldn't stop it haunts me now it was women's business dealt with by them in the most rural African village you can imagine and the mums and wider women wanted it to happen and celebrated it...

SomethingOnce Sun 08-Sep-13 15:50:15

That women have internalised the misogyny doesn't mean FGM isn't rooted in it.

And how much easier for the chaps that women are doing the oppressing for them!

Yy it is a wider societal issue, but no less misogynistic or harmful because of it.

happyhev Sun 08-Sep-13 17:10:56

It is misogynistic, because men in these cultures wont marry women who haven't been cut.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 08-Sep-13 18:25:26


Its done for no other reason than guaranteeing sexual purity with a sideline in making sure the female sex organs don't drive the men wild with desire as preparation for marriage.

Just because no men may witness it or perform it does not make it not for men.

On the upside some families who are educated about the matter are making sure its put about that there little boys will not be promised to a girl who has been mutilated but its still a rare thing to take a stand against.

If anyone would like to point to any campaign groups campaigning to stop FGM, or any petitions etc that can be signed, I am sure that would be helpful, please.

The debate about male circumcision and FGM is unhelpful, I think, and if people feel strongly about male circumcision I am sure there may also be petitions and campaigns about that.

It may even help the cause of anti-male circumcision if FGM is finally stamped out, although I am not sure it would work the other way. (Because in my humble opinion men in society seem to care what happens more to men than to women and men in society make more decisions about what happens to everyone!).

fortuniana Sun 08-Sep-13 21:19:47

I am not sure if people got the point of the newsnight piece, I have read most of the posts, but the mum was seeking asylum to protect her daughter who was BORN IN THE UK and the UKBA wants to deport them both to Gambia because they think a single mum in a country where FGM is legal is going to be safe. We need to prosecute the UKBA, this is an African woman who has been cut who is refusing to let it happen to her daughter, she is a hero and our government is treating her like a criminal.

Kendodd Sun 08-Sep-13 21:27:26

Sorry butting in but I don't think it was mentioned. I think it is a great idea physically checking at risk children but it would never work. You would need the parents permission to do this which obviously would not be given.

LongStory Sun 08-Sep-13 22:42:56

I've been aware of FGM for some time and get really distressed whenever I hear about it. But we had FGM mentioned in the prayers in church this morning, which was a first for me; I was so proud of our little radical congregation!

Kendodd if the police suspect a child is being physically abused do they need the parents permission to physcially check the child?

strokey Mon 09-Sep-13 14:09:10

Someone asked why do women allow their daughters to have it done. I went to language school abroad with a Somalian girl who took her baby daughter to have it done. She had also had it done and was glad as she would hate to have any sexual feelings in that area. She said her daughter would feel different if she didn't get it done too.

I don't see it as being any different to circumcision.

Clearly that man was a loon though

strokey when you say you don't see it as being any different to circumcision. Do you mean you see FGM as the same as male circumcison? FGM is very destructive, painful and life threatening. It is not comparable to male circumcision.

tb Mon 09-Sep-13 17:04:25

I've been stopped several times in the car parks that surround French supermarkets and asked to sign petitions against it. One time the request was accompanied by rather graphic gesticulations on the part of the requestor. He was rather surprsed to discover that I knew about it.

I seem to remember that about 20+ years ago hearing on Radio 4 about a doctor in the Midlands that performed fgm on request, and that nothing was done or had been done to stop him.

IMO male circumcision and FGM may be seen as 'the same issue' in that they both involve an unnecessary procedure to healthy children, so I can see how one can have a problem with both (I do).

BUT FGM is in a different league wrt to pain, life-long disfigurment and pain, likely medical complications that again can last a lifetime, etc etc. Not at all comparable in scope and consquence sad.

ANormalOne Mon 09-Sep-13 21:46:27

The least awful level of FGM would be comparative to a boy having the head of his penis and both testicles removed.

A laughably ignorant statement.

There are four different types of FGM, classified by the WHO as;

^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).

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).

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.

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

Are you seriously telling me a pin prick on the clitoris would be equivalent to the removal of a boy's penis and testicles?


OxfordBags Mon 09-Sep-13 22:02:10

I would prefer you to answer why it matters so much to you to try to minimise the whole topic by focusing on that one word, pinprick. Out of all the facts about FGM, above every mind-bogglingly disgusting and unimaginable truth and detail about it, you want to reduce the discussion down to the issue of a pinprick compared to everything else that is done. hmm

It also doesn't state that the prick is done by a pin. A prick done 'correctly' could destroy all sexual feeling and even destroy the look of the clitoris.

I didn't know that a prick on the clitoris was now part of the categorisation. However, I do know that the minor forms of FGM are actually very rarely done. Furthermore, what you might be unaware of, or wilfully overlooking, is that 1) 2) & 3) and sometimes 4) too are usually done together, or in some combination.

As for the other things done apart from pricking in level 4, then yes, they are pretty horrific. And they do compare to removal of the penis head and testicles, because the nerve endings for pleasure are in the head of the penis, and scraping, cauterising, incising, piercing, and even pricking if done harshly enough, will destroy the clitoris enough so that the victim cannot feel any sexual pleasure. After all, a boy with the head of penis removed will still be able to urinate. In most cases of FGM, the victims aren't even capable of urinating normally, due to the mutilation, so even then, it would be worse in that sense than the headless penis. The things done in level 4 would also affect the look of the genitals, making them not look like normal, identifiable genitals, so yes, that is comparable to removing testicles. And labia, etc., do play important part in sexual and general health function (such as distributing essential lubrication and keeping germs out, and so on, so yet again, comparable).

I have answered you, even though it should be fairly obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of human biology, ot ability to perceive medical implications, etc., why even Level 4 FGM is still appalling. Now please answer me, explaining why you are so invested in derailing the topic by focusing on one small thing I said that could possibly, on superficial viewing, be undermined by a single word on the matter. Why do you NEED FGM to not be as bad as it is?!

I am not sure why discussions on FGM contain references to male circumcision and comparisons, (though I do understand people's need to answer other posters and I am not complaining confused).

I just wonder why the desire to end a cripplingly cruel act performed on innocent women and girls must also include reference to male circumcision (which I also disagree with). For the record I am sure some terrible forms of male circumcision are done in part of the world without anaesthetic and with disastrous results so I have no desire to lesson that or make light of it.

I do feel if we can stamp out FGM then male circumcision may well come next! The danger with the arguments against FGM getting derailed with discussion about circumcision is that rather than elevating the horror of male circumcision it actually appears to try and belittle the suffering of FGM (in my humble opinion) which is in no one's interest except those who would wish to continue this barbaric and pointless cruelty.

ANormalOne Mon 09-Sep-13 22:55:17

You've answered with a load of nonsensical gibberish, bravo.

Do you know what prick means? Do you know what any of those words actually mean? If you prick something you put a small hole in it, explain to me how putting a small hole in a female clitoris completely 'destroys all sexual feelings' and permanently changes the entire appearance of the vagina? Anyone with even a passing knowledge of human biology would know that destroying the female clitoris does not completely 'destroy' sexual pleasure, either, many women who have been circumcised can still achieve an orgasm through vaginal stimulation.

So tell me exactly how pricking, cutting, piercing, burning or scraping, completely 'destroys all sexual pleasure'?

They don't compare at all, in the slightest, you made a ridiculous, ignorant, statement, that you're now trying, and failing, to defend. The least invasive forms of female circumcision are not all comparable to the removal of the head of the penis and testicles.

You can also knock of your ridiculous assumptions about my comment too, I'm not attempting to minimize FGM nor do I need it to be 'not as bad as it is'. As a feminist and a vocal advocate of body autonomy rights, I want an accurate, informed, debate about all genital mutilation, because all genital mutilation is a disgusting violation of person's basic human rights, your comments. Your comment was not accurate, nor was informed, simple as.

all genital mutilation is a disgusting violation of person's basic human rights

That. So why even consider putting a pinprick in it?


OxfordBags Mon 09-Sep-13 23:31:54

I would love to see the stats on how many victims of FGM achieve sexual pleasure and orgasm hmm I'm sure that countries where it is practised place a really high value on finding out how they achieve orgasm or can achieve it. I am totally aware that removal of the clitoris doesn't stop all sexual avenues - I posted a link upthread about a surgeon restoring sexual pleasure to victims due to the hidden length of the clitoris, thank you, but what is done to most victims of FGM IS so extreme as to make sex barely tolerable, never mind fun. There are countless interviews and studies across the decades where women talk about their agony during sex, or even just daily agony regardless, but I have once come across a single incident of a victim of FGM talking about what sexual pleasure she achieves and how she achieves it.

The study you link to concerns a sample group of just 137 women, with a range of FGM experiences. It may well be that some of them did have very little done to them. Others it describes as achieving pleasure once they have been DEfibulated, which is a reversal of some of the effects of FGM.

And, as Dogwood points out, if all genital mutilation is a violation of basic human rights, why are you belabouring the point about pinpricks?! Again, the word is prick, which does not automatically mean pin, and having looked at the categorisation before I replied above, it can mean a very forceful assault on the clitoral area.

I'd rather you explain to me how burning, scraping, incising and so on DON'T take away or totally destroy sexual pleasure. I hardly think that seeing these procedures as deliterious to sexual enjoyment is talking gibberish!

Probably the lowest levels of FGM aren't as bad as removal of the penis head and testicles, although some could be visually as extreme. I am more familiar with levels 1-3 seeing as those represent virtually all cases of FGM. A symbolic prick isn't as bad, no, but I think you are deluding yourselves and other reading this if you think that pinpricking represents the majority FGM experience.

I get the sense that you are misguidedly feeling that talking about victims of FGM as passive, sexless and pleasureless does them a disservice, and is perhaps anti-feminist, but FGM is designed to make women passive, sexless and pleasureless. We help the victims more by taking a total stance against it, not debating semantics about how a small number might achieve orgasm, or how it compares to male circumcision.

Every type of FGM, even a pinprick is fucking disgusting.

ANormalOne Tue 10-Sep-13 08:59:54

I never claimed that pricking represents the majority of female circumcisions, did I? Another silly attempt to misrepresent what I am saying. And I don't have to prove anything to you, you're the one claiming that they remove all sexual pleasure, so the onus is on you to prove what you're claiming. I don't have to prove a negative.

I am 'belaboring' the point because you are the one attempting to minimize genital mutilation. You made a stupid exaggerated comment about circumcision in an attempt to minimize genital mutilation carried out against men and make female circumcision out to be always worse than what men go through, which is nonsense.

Do some more research, dear, all circumcision is designed to remove sexual pleasure, for both men and women. We do help victims by taking a stance against all forms of mutilation, which is why feminists, like myself, want MGM discussed alongside FGM, because they are both violations of body autonomy, they are both mutilation.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 10-Sep-13 10:19:58

I am struggling even to read this thread without my head swimming as though I am going to faint. It is so awful and horrendous.

On past threads where routine examination was suggested I have been against this, however the idea of a routine, mandatory health check in schools where it is presented as a safe, normal thing and is done discreetly then I cannot object to this at all and would be in favour for boys and girls. Perhaps not every year but once per "key stage", ie every 3 years or so.

However it seems to me that we are stuck - the fact it's happening is more of a symptom than the problem itself if that makes sense - although that's hard to stomach because obviously the act of FGM is so horrendous and problematic - but the real problem is that it's seen as a need in certain communities. That's what enables it to continue, that's what causes mothers/grandmothers/aunts to put the young girls in their families through this, knowing what it involves, that's what is behind the severe recriminations that parents fear if they do not allow their daughters to go through this, and the fear that their daughters will become outcasts.

This is also why it's nothing at all like male circumcision, which I am also against.

Making it illegal hasn't helped because the fear of prosecution is lesser (probably far, far lesser especially as it doesn't seem to happen) than the fear of the child being outcast, or the fear of recrimination from within the community. I think this would be the case for a lot of people even if prosecutions started happening. So to me, that makes it an ineffective way to go about trying to prevent it. It's done out of fear, so trying to provoke more fear in the opposite direction doesn't help. I think support would help more, but it has to come from within or be supported by the communities themselves - there's no use in a load of white British people coming along saying "We can save you!" because that doesn't magically enable a girl to be accepted by her community or the elders of the community from attacking her parents. A poster further up said that a woman she knew felt glad that she had suffered FGM because it saved her from sexual feelings which she felt to be uncomfortable or wrong. Offering refuge does not negate any of these fears, and a girl who fears FGM is not going to speak to her doctor or teacher to express these fears if she is afraid that by doing so her parents might be arrested, or she might be removed from her family, or even that her family be removed from their community. Plus she has probably been told all sorts of terrifying things will happen if she speaks to anybody Western about the prospect.

It seems so hopeless.

OxfordBags Tue 10-Sep-13 15:24:06

ANormalOne, I have done post-graduate feminist research on FGM, dear. Granted, it was about 10 years ago, and at the time, we did not look closely at things like symbolic pinpricks, because there was some question as to whether it even happened or not, and Level 3 FGM included cauterisation and so on at the time.

However, one thing that is the same as it was back then at that is that male genital mutilation, MGM, is not an offically recognised term. It is a term hijacked from FGM by activists with their own agenda. FGM is called that because it is a literal medical description of what happens.

The majority experience of FGM is far, far worse than anything done in male circumcision. Most FGM is level 1-2, and the only comparable experience of male circumcision would be that terrible case of the little boy whose experimental laser circumcision went so wrong that they cackhandedly advised his parents to bring him up as a girl. The damage, the level of mutilation done to him was appalling, but it was a single case (albeit that we know of, academically) - comparable damage is done to hundreds, if not thousands of girls old enough to remember the experience, every single day.

I actually used the example of removal of penis head and testicles to point out exactly what you are not grasping - that it is disgraceful and ridiculous to try to nitpick. That it is absurd to try to make comparisons. And I am now, in my responses to you, making deliberately nitpicking and even silly extremes to prove theoretically that removing the testicles and penis-head doesn't really affect a man 'that much', because focusing on pinpricks (which has always been used as an example of what people could be doing, or which they could be urged to do symbolically instead of the full FGM shebang, there's no proof it's what is actually sometimes done) and orgasms in FGM victims is incredibly nitpicking and minimising of you. Especially as the study you used included victims who have had procedures done to reverse some of the FGM.

Male circumcision is just not as bad as FGM. You cannot persuade me, or others that it is, because, um, er, that would be because it is not as bad. Not as bad physically, or culturally, or ACTUALLY. These pinpricks that you want to focus on more than the other,majority forms of FGM aren't even proven to be something that's done, they're just an example given as to what could be categorised as FGM, as I said above.

Male circumcision is bad. I don't agree with it, unless there are proper medical reasons. Incidentally, Phimosis at birth is a problem that runs in my family, and I have several male relatives who had to be circumcised due to that. But I don't agree with it for non-necessary reasons. I'm glad people are. Campaigning against it for all other reasons. HOWEVER, linking it with FGM is wrong. The reasons why FGM is done, the effects, the extremity of what is done to the majority of victims, are very different from the reasons and effects ofmale circumcision, and especially in the case of the extremity.

By linking the two, people campaigning against male circumcision who insist that it and FGM are basically the same, basically as bad as each other, make themselves look ignorant, insensitive and misogynist, as well as being medically incorrect.

The campaign against male circumcision does not have to hijack FGM in order to be legitimate and important. Just because it is not as extreme or painful, and culturally problematic as FGM, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be complained about. But it actually shoots itself in the foot by insisting that the two are identically problematic.

CruCru Tue 10-Sep-13 18:16:26

Earlier in the thread, someone suggested a regular full medical check up. This is done in the US each year (or was when I was a kid) so could become a norm here. However, that may only be for those with health insurance.

BabyX Tue 10-Sep-13 19:52:16

I haven't seen the programme. I have read this thread part-way until I could not bear another post. I feel sick and heartbroken that people can do this to each other. I thank my lucky stars I was not born in a country where women are treated so appallingly. But what can we ever do to stop it? We are told to respect everything about other cultures, regardless of brutality. Well, I'm not respecting this.

It's just barbaric.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Sep-13 20:00:11

Hello all - thought you might like to know that we've got a very powerful guest blog over here from FGM survivor Nimco Ali, of campaign group Daughters of Eve. Do come and post if you've got a min?

We've also got a comment from Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer on the fact that, 28 years since FGM was criminalised, there's yet to be a successful prosecution.

Pixel Tue 10-Sep-13 21:20:51

Of course, what really needs to happen is for men to take a stand. Can't see that happening just yet.
I watched the channel four documentary linked below, and one of the fathers was begging the circumciser to go easy on his daughters, to only cut a little and not to stitch (she deliberately misunderstood him and said they had to be stitched or they would bleed to death but I'm sure he meant not to stitch so there was only a small hole left). I got the impression he would rather it wasn't done at all, it was his wife who insisted and even laughed as she held down her screaming daughter! And the young man newly married who wouldn't let his wife be cut open under GA because his friends would laugh and said he would do it himself? Obviously we were supposed to be angry at him for that, and I did want to give him a good shake, but I also thought it telling that he told the doctor "I wasn't there when they did that to her". He was trapped by the situation too and I actually felt a little bit sorry for him (not much of a wedding night), not as sorry as I was for that poor scrap of a girl who was so frightened she wouldn't let the kindly female doctor near her, but still, he didn't ask for it either. I wonder if he would really want his future daughters circumcised or if the right campaign could indeed persuade him to 'take a stand'?

People of certain cultures are very trapped in their societal structures, expectations and taboos.
And I feel quite strongly it's not for us white Westerners to wade in there and tell other peoples were they go 'wrong' (in a patronising white missionary kind of way). We do all sorts of things that are incomprehensible to other cultures: breast augmentation/reduction, facelifts, 'tummy tucks' - yes, some of these have medical justification, but the majority don't. And one could argue that these procedures are done due to social pressures (to look a certain way) too.

HOWEVER - people how have plastic surgery for whatever reason do so voluntarily, they are not forced and held down, sometimes by their loved ones. They hope to achieve a better quality of life by undergoing painful operations (that sometimes go wrong causing longterm problems).
(As an aside, and please nobody pick a fight about this, one could argue that the need to look a certain way leading to plastic surgery is a similar pressure to what Somalian girls/women feel when they continue the tradition of FGM?)

Having said all that, we have duty of care to ALL children in this country. And that includes ensuring that they are not taken 'on holiday' to their homecountry only to come back mutilated.
How on earth to achieve this, I have no idea.
Tbh, the relationship of many British people to their bodies is such that I can just imagine many caucasian, native British families not agreeing to have their children undergo an intimate examination (even if it was just an inspection) as a matter of routine.
And I really don't see how you can just single out Somalia/Ethiopian/other African girls for this.

I am so glad this is more of a spoken about problem at present.

BabyX Wed 11-Sep-13 00:16:00

Pacific, adults give consent to plastic surgery - the rights and wrongs are irrelevant in this context. In fact, some women here choose to have labiaplasty. But they do so of their own free will. I don't really care if adult females choose to have their clitoris cut out. I care about children being tortured without consent, being left with appalling injuries to their most private parts without their permission.

It's about consent.

On your other point, I'm afraid I would absolutely NOT allow my daughter to have her genitals checked to rule out FGM, you're right about that.

BabyX may I ask why you would not allow your daughter to be checked (by a medical professional)? I don't want to cause offence, just to understand.

SomethingOnce Wed 11-Sep-13 08:15:45

I'd be interested to know too.

Pixel Wed 11-Sep-13 18:23:33

For a start we could stop the tide of small girls being taken on 'holiday' abroad during the summer and coming back circumcised. We would just have to pass a law saying that any young girl coming back into this country from a place where FGM is practised has to be examined on her return. Under those circumstances I'm sure people would agree to having every girl checked because every family would have the same choice whether or not to go to that country while a daughter was of school age. It wouldn't stop people visiting family, it would just stop them inflicting FGM on their daughter if they intend to return (which the majority would). Of course we'd have to follow through with actual convictions for that to work so the govt would have to show some guts for a change.

SomethingOnce Wed 11-Sep-13 18:37:19

Unless every country did the same, I'm guessing return home via a different country would be a workaround.

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 19:03:43

And I feel quite strongly it's not for us white Westerners to wade in there and tell other peoples were they go 'wrong' (in a patronising white missionary kind of way).

I understand what you mean, but I disagree in this case. It IS wrong. They need to be told it's wrong. They need to be made to feel stupid and backward for doing it. BECAUSE THEY ARE. We need to keep banging on and on and ON that this practice is vile, dangerous, demeaning, based on the most ridiculous, unjustifiable and unsubstantiated dogma, unnecessary and damaging on every single level, controlling, misogynistic, backward, medieval, and cruel.

I don't care how patronising that sounds. Actually.

I was trying to make a point about the power of social pressure, not about consent, to try to understand why so many women continue to support FGM, sometimes even in an active role as the 'circumciser'.

Sublimina, yes, I agree with what you are saying. But I think that has to be limited to what we do in THIS country. Although linking aid to encouraging countries to stop FGM is a tempting thought...

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 19:49:06

Very tempting, yes. And in my world I'd like to see a ban on families from countries who practice it coming to live and work in the UK, unless they are prepared to undergo medical examination to show their daughters have not been mutilated, with ongoing checks which would result in imprisonment then deportation for the entire family if they had.

Hm, not so sure - IME, sadly, there are worse things that can happen to people in some of the countries they come from than FGM, hard as that may be to contemplate.

As with so many things, I don't think there IS a one-size-fits-all solution.
It would be welcomed, and I sometimes think the silence is deafening, if prominent community leaders, muslim and non-religious, would speak out publically against FGM. I can live in hope, but am not holding my breath currently sad.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 12-Sep-13 08:23:13

It is more popular amongst women in their twenties. Young, professional women. It's an absolute minefield and I do not know how it can be stopped. Until after the event. Where do you start? It's being going on for years and its across all cultures. Some people have pointed out that its a man thing. I have a dear friend who is one of seven sisters and not one of them has had it done. Her father was totally against it and, he's 90 now. So it's not a generation thing either. She is emphatic it comes from other women.

What really horrified me, (bearing in mind that FGM wasn't new information to me) is that I just didn't know that the UKBA are not protecting asylum seeking girls and women. FGM is such a blindingly obvious risk, especially in the case on Newsnight, where the mother is single.

I just can't bear the thought that our so-called civilised country is happy to say 'nope, that's Gambia's problem'. It was made very clear by the little girl's Grandmother that she will be mutilated if they are deported to Gambia, I'm still in shock that we aren't doing more to protect girls.

Bonsoir Thu 12-Sep-13 08:33:18

In France it is matter of course for paediatricians and HCPs to ask DC to take all their clothes off when visiting the doctor, even for issues seemingly unrelated to nudity (ear ache...). The UK does not have the same culture of nudity in the presence of HCPs that France and other countries do. Furthermore, French girls and women are expected - and expect - to undergo regular genital examination, right through life.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 12-Sep-13 08:45:23

That sounds ideal if it was the same for everyone.

Should babies born to mothers with FGM be automatically put on the At Risk register.

Bonsoir Thu 12-Sep-13 11:26:35

I personally think that it is very difficult to target little girls "at risk" of FGM and to single them out for genital examination by HCPs in a country such as the UK whose culture does not routinely perform intimate examination of girls and women.

That smacks of huge cultural double standards ("we trust the natives and we don't trust foreigners") which is immensely distasteful. If we want immigrants to conform to our standards (which is perfectly reasonable per se), those standards must be the same for all.

Pixel Thu 12-Sep-13 23:04:33

The only double standard I see is that the immigrants only 'conform to our standards' when it suits them. Otherwise we are 'offending their culture' by suggesting they desist from doing something that is against our laws. The fact is the 'natives'' (as you put it) children aren't at risk of FGM (I can't honestly think of any case where they would be) and some of the 'foreigners'' children are. I'm past caring if it offends people to say so, all I care about is those poor children. What about their rights to grow up as fully-fledged members of our society, including being free from mutilation? FGS if you take a child to A&E with a suspicious injury or even if someone reports seeing you hit a child the authorities can insist on examining the child, but if there are perfectly valid reasons for suspecting a child is at risk of FGM we aren't allowed to say or do anything unless we say and do it to everyone else too?

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 05:34:04

Exactly Pixel.

janstr8talk Sun 02-Mar-14 18:23:39

hello, this is my first post. I feel so strongly about this subject that I wanted to air my views. 1. Any person that is thinking of fgm for their children should leave this country and not return as it is illegal here due to its savage nature. 2. If they do it to their child they should have all British rights removed, their passports taken back and deportation, any benefits that they have claimed should have to be paid back. 3. If they claimed benefits here and can not claim them back prior to being deported they should be sent to prison for custodial sentences where all the inmates should be informed of their crime.

Nataleejah Wed 05-Mar-14 16:04:15

Thats where the state should take children into care and deport the parents.

tallulah Wed 05-Mar-14 16:34:06

Channel 4 aired a series by Leyla Hussein here which was very powerful.

In one episode she took some young men who thought FGM was a great idea into a room with these massive plasticine vaginas. Using a huge pair of shears she used each one to demonstrate which bits were cut off in each type of FGM. She also showed them a video of a child being cut.

All of them were in tears and one was literally sick. All of them said how awful it was and there was no way that was going to happen to their daughter.

Perhaps by aiming it at the young men like this it can be stopped. The women say it's for the men- the men can say no to their daughters and sisters having it done.

ShowMeTheCocoa Wed 19-Mar-14 09:55:16

Please support this anti-FGM documentary in East Africa. We need to change attitudes on the ground in one of the heartlands of this despicable practice. Then fewer UK girls will be taken abroad to be cut. ONLY FIVE DAYS TO GO! Thank you.

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