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Help end FGM in one generation - join the Thunderclap

(45 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 17:39:02

Tomorrow is International Day for Zero Tolerance towards Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - a day to break the silence around FGM, and hopefully, make a statement that can't be ignored.

125 million women and girls around the world have been subjected to this horrific form of violence - and 30 million girls are at risk of being cut over the next decade. These women have suffered a lifetime of damage, sometimes even death, as a consequence. In the UK, it's estimated that over 20,000 girls are at risk every year - and that 66,000 women in the UK are already living with the consequences of FGM.

We know that this is an issue that many MNers feel passionate about - and there's a growing movement calling for the eradication of this brutal practice within a single generation. But it's a huge task, and requires everyone who cares about the issue to stand together and say 'enough'.

The Department for International Development has organised a Thunderclap to help amplify the voices of those who want to end FGM. A Thunderclap is a mass Tweet or Facebook post - it's incredibly simple to join in, and takes literally seconds. Your Tweet or post will be 'released' at 11.30am tomorrow, along with those of everyone else who has participated - with luck making a massive noise across social media globally.

So do join in with a Twitter storm and Facebook frenzy this International Zero Tolerance Day, by sharing this statement via Thunderclap: I'm calling for an end to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Retweet & take a stand this Zero Tolerance Day! Together we can #endFGM

If you have another moment, take another look at this recent guest post from FGM survivor, mother and Daughters of Eve activist Leyla Hussain - 'Making sure my daughter wasn't cut is my greatest achievement'. It's an inevitably upsetting but incredibly powerful read - and a great reminder of the dreadful impact of FGM on women and girls in this country and around the world.

*UPDATE*** Norman Baker MP will be joining Mumsnet for a live webchat tomorrow (Thurs 6th) on FGM and the Government's response. Please do post your questions here

SomewhatSilly Wed 05-Feb-14 17:56:25

Thunderclap link not working

Crumblemum Wed 05-Feb-14 17:58:11

Ooh never tried a Thunderclap - will do on my twitter.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 18:06:08

Thunderclap links should be working now

YoniMatopoeia Wed 05-Feb-14 18:53:55

v good. No idea what a thunderclap is, but marking place so I can do this when the laptop is fired up.

fusspot66 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:35:19

I just shared the article to my FB via share button on phone.

fusspot66 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:39:13

I just shared the article to my FB via share button on phone.

TheGonnagle Wed 05-Feb-14 19:47:45

Done, and added to my fb profile to urge others on.

KingRollo Wed 05-Feb-14 20:10:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ParsleyTheLioness Wed 05-Feb-14 20:14:41

Tweeted. I suppose it raises awareness.

lovesteaandcake Wed 05-Feb-14 20:17:30

Added via Facebook here too

KingRollo Wed 05-Feb-14 20:20:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NearTheWindmill Wed 05-Feb-14 20:39:19

I don't do facebook or twitter. What is MNet doing. What is MNet doing to support legal action in the UK against people who mutilate their dds whilst living in this country? What is MNet doing to ensure every a&e department reports to all agencies when it becomes aware? What is MNet doing to apply pressure on government.

Twitter and Facebook my backside! Let's see some proper statements going into government from the Guardianistas - or is that too unpolitically correct.

This has actually made me very very cross Justine and I hope there will be an announcement from you very soon rather than a metaphorical "thunderclap".

KingRollo Wed 05-Feb-14 20:44:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think raising awareness is so important with FGM though.
Thanks to MNHQ for adding their support to this.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 22:03:19


Just wanted to pop on and try to answer a couple of the points up above. We do know this isn't the answer to stopping FGM, and we know it's only a very small thing people can do. But it is a way people can start to raise awareness of FGM, and it's what Daughters of Eve asked us to do, when we asked how we could support the day of action.

We have also just had it confirmed that Norman Baker, Home Office Minister will come on for a webchat tomorrow to discuss the issue and think that will be a great opportunity for Mumsnet users to make the strength of feeling known and push for more information on prosecutions and UK action on this.

We hope this is a good place to start. I'll just go an start the Norman Baker webchat thread and then pop back here and post a link.

Alambil Wed 05-Feb-14 22:13:09

sounds like a great start... everything has to start somewhere and awareness is the first port of call, obviously

I'd never even heard of it until I'd done safeguarding training through my job..... I wonder how many other people "out there" haven't even heard of it, let alone thought about what it actually is and does to girls and women.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 22:25:40


Please do post your questions to the Home Office Minister responsible for FGM on this thread here. The webchat will take place tomorrow between 12pm and 1pm.

NearTheWindmill Wed 05-Feb-14 22:48:30

I'm glad you posted again. Thank you. I'd love to participate tomorrow but will be at work.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Feb-14 23:02:43

Hi NearTHeWindmill you can hop on the thread now and post a question in advance if you like.

jazzy01 Thu 06-Feb-14 00:09:11

Done xx

perfectstorm Thu 06-Feb-14 07:01:28

There's something else people can do, in terms of targeted raisibg awareness. A coalition of charities are asking people to sign this petition. The aim is to get the subject into schools.

A 17-year-old student is calling on Michael Gove to help end female genital mutilation in Britain by asking headteachers to train and inform teachers and parents about the horrors of the practice.

Fahma Mohamed is urging the education secretary to write to the leaders of all primary and secondary schools, urging them to flag up the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM) before the summer holidays, when girls are at the greatest risk. An estimated 66,000 women and girls in the UK have been victims of FGM.

She adds her voice to a broad coalition of global charities and campaigners who have joined with the Guardian to urge Gove to act. Supporters can add their names to a petition on the campaigning website. "If every single headteacher was given the right information, we could reach every single girl who is at risk of FGM," said Fahma, from Bristol. "We could convince these families not to send their daughters abroad and help those girls at risk."

According to government figures more than 20,000 British girls are thought to be at risk of being cut every year but, despite previous government promises to stop FGM, experts have warned that girls are not only still being taken abroad to be cut during the holiday "cutting season", but are also being mutilated in Britain.

Medical groups, trade unions and human rights organisations estimate that there were 66,000 UK victims of FGM in the UK and more than 24,000 girls under the age of 15 were at risk. Victims can be as young as just a few weeks old.

I wonder how many people who work in public services actually think about and consider FGM in their work. If this just makes people hold the possibility in their minds that will be a good step. Too many children are harmed because people don't even consider that harm might be occurring - FGM is a type of harm that people barely consider and this is wrong. We should be asking the questions and weighing the risk and doing something to prevent it.

I agree with you Eirikur and perfectstorm, I've worked in schools in teaching and teaching support roles, and think much more could be done to raise awareness in schools. I've posted a question for Norman Baker on this on the web-chat thread. I'm just going over to see if there are other questions there yet - last night my one was all on it's own sad

BarbiesBeaver Thu 06-Feb-14 09:16:43

Joined the FB campaign. I'd be interested to know what is being done globally to educate on this awful practise.

BarbiesBeaver Thu 06-Feb-14 09:19:17

Have also signed the Gove petition.


Just posting to ask if you can put this thread in DOTD for today since it is after all the International Day for Zero Tolerance of FGM and taking action on this has to start with raising awareness ?

I realise that generally topics for Discussions of the Day are chosen from those that are most active but I know you do make exceptions to this sometimes.

I hope this might be just that type of occasion?

I feel very strongly about this appalling violence to women and girls and know many other MNers do too.

We should all do everything we can both today and every day.

Thank you thanks

MmeLindor Thu 06-Feb-14 09:44:18

I am glad that MN are getting involved in this campaign.

I just wanted to say that if you are looking for more concrete ways to help, that the social media thing, this might be of interesting to you. They are a group of UK and African midwives who organise alternative Rites of Passage ceremonies in Kenya.

FB page here.

Thank you MNHQ thanks

- it's good to see this right at the top of DOTD, and all the other awareness raising on the site today - with links to websites, petitions, and web-chat with the Home Office Minister with responsibility for this area.

DeathStar Thu 06-Feb-14 10:23:54

I think this is important, and equally important is that boys should not be mutilated either. If there's no medical necessity, i.e. a skin adhesion defect preventing them from urinating or causing recurring pain and infection, boys should be left alone and allowed to make their own bodily decisions too. Just because something is taken for granted or is part of a religious rite at birth doesn't make it good.

As an adult I made a decision to have a piercing installed in the Death Star docking bay out of political empathy for this agenda relating to FGM (no other reason, the Millenium Falcon still hasn't strayed into my tractor beam) and I was aware all day that there are other women out there who never had the choice or control xx

When you say it is equally important that boys are not mutilated either I think it's important to be aware that girls are commonly injured much more severely and with more dangerous consequences.
So the two practices are only of limited comparability.

DeathStar Thu 06-Feb-14 10:51:53

I'm not disputing the trauma girls suffer. I'm just saying that both types of mutilation are wrong. If girls had this done to them in modern clinics under anaesthetic and with antibiotics, I'd still consider it barbaric and unnecessary xx

MmeLindor Thu 06-Feb-14 10:52:12

I don't know quite what to make of your post. I would say that comparing FGM with male circumcision is not valid, because as Juggling said, the complications for girls and women are generally much more severe. I don't see what your piercing has to do with this either.

I don't want to turn this into a debate, as I don't think this is the place for it.

I met a young woman last year who actually wanted to be cut. She said that it was a rite of passage, and that all her friends did it. Her parents sent her away from her village every year during the cutting season, and she tried to escape from her gran's house and return.

It wasn't till she was older, that she realised what a lucky escape she had. She stayed in school, is educated, has a job in Nairobi. A very different life to the school friends who stayed in the village, were married to a much older man, and had child after child.

I'm really glad MNHQ are involved in this campaign.

I'm sorry if I come across as harsh now. deathstar, what on earth were you thinking?! Can you not seen how utterly inappropriate and crass your post is? 'Empathy' means the capacity to share another's feelings. There is no way that a piercing, wherever it may be, compares to FGM.

Saying so trivializes what FGM is. Sorry, but it does. I felt a little bit sick reading that part of your post.

It's no surprise you're bringing in the separate issue of male circumcision, given that. Yes, it may be a very important issue to debate and many including me feel it's extremely problematic but it is not the same.

I hope that post isn't inappropriate, I know I could ignore the post but I am so angry that this important issue is constantly derailed (as it has been previously on MN and in other contexts).

Can't we please stay on the issue?

Mme, that is so frightening to read.

woeface Thu 06-Feb-14 10:58:54

Don't schools already have a statutory duty to protect at risk girls under child protection protocols? Why is this not being done, and what plans are there to hold schools to account for failing to do so?

Have joined the Thunderclap on twitter x

lubeybooby Thu 06-Feb-14 11:37:49

I did it and authorised it to post for me at 11.30am today but it hasn't done it, no tweet and none of the keywords or hastags are trending. What's happening? Have I got the date wrong? This was posted yesterday and said 'tomorrow'

lubeybooby Thu 06-Feb-14 11:39:07

oh just noticed it's finally done it. Not trending though still. Hope it does.

DeathStar Thu 06-Feb-14 13:04:41

My apologies for the upset. It wasn't intended (I've been awake working for 36 hours). Before the internet started twenty years ago there were graphic reports of this sort of thing happening in Africa in scientific and anthropological publications my grandparents subscribed to that I read when I was at an impressionable age, and I decided probably at around age twelve or thirteen that I would get pierced one day because I had the privilege of choice, and wanted a daily reminder that not everyone in the world does. The issue made a huge impression on me, and I'm proud of everyone wanting to make a difference now with what's available in the media today. Apologies again - I won't make any more of a nuisance of myself x

That sounds fair enough to me DeathStar - I think

Thank you for coming back and explaining, I appreciate that.

Itstartshere Fri 07-Feb-14 19:04:53

I missed this, but I feel so passionately about this issue. I have signed the petition and shared it on FB, donated to an FGM charity but I just wish there was more I could do. I find it devastating that children have this ahead of them. I simply cannot imagine the trauma.

masirah Fri 07-Feb-14 23:19:25

I have been following this on Womans Hour over the last 12 months or so and for the life of me I cannot understand why, in this day and age, this is still going on! OK, in deepest, darkest Africa, where life is not up to date, but in modern day Europe, this is NOT right.

Any man that thinks his "woman" is better for having this carried out, is, IGNORANT and a throwback to the stone age (or even further?)

GP's who come across this SHOULD report it.

Jesuisunepapillon Sat 08-Feb-14 13:23:03

Masirah I think it's a bit more complicated than that. In fact as there is more immigration and men from these communities have sex with Western women who haven't been cut, they are in many cases also calling for FGM to end. They can see how much more satisfying sex is And safer for the women too.

And quite often in these communities (most of the time??) the cutters are in fact women.

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