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FGM in West Yorkshire

(18 Posts)
secular111 Tue 13-Dec-16 20:01:51

I can't apologize to those who reckon even discussing FGM (female genital mutilation) is racist and should be legalised in the UK, but I'll quite happily take the flak. I don't think there are any such-minded folk on Mumsnet, but I found two people in my office today who think it should be allowed in the UK for 'cultural reasons'.

Here's a news story covered widely today, though strangely not found on The Guardian site;

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38290888
Charity warns of FGM 'parties' taking place in England

'The Black Health Initiative in Leeds says midwives from Africa are being flown into the country to carry out the illegal practice.

West Yorkshire Police said they were aware girls were being subjected to FGM locally.
...
Heather Nelson, Chief Executive of the Black Health Initiative, said: "We know of parties happening here in England, and in West Yorkshire we recently had to break one up, and we've stopped another from taking place.'

pepperpot99 Wed 14-Dec-16 14:24:43

People also say the same about circumsicion, that it should be allowed for 'cultural' reasons. I don't see how chopping bits off someones genitalia can contribute to their culture hmm

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Wed 14-Dec-16 14:31:47

It's child abuse. Those practicing it and arranging it should be prosecuted.

intheknickersoftime Wed 14-Dec-16 14:34:24

It's horrific. Schools have to be aware and report if they think a girl is at risk of being subjected to fgm. There needs to be increasing awareness and more resources in ensuring this horrific practice is stopped and perpetrators punished. It's not a cultural practice that can have any place in society. I can't believe people think there is any excuse.

riceuten Wed 14-Dec-16 15:23:30

I haven't seen any public figure condone FGM, and in Asia and Africa, women and girls of all religions are mutilated, so it's not a religious issue either. I work in an office probably even multiculturaller (is that a word) than yours and I haven't met a single advocate.

secular111 Wed 14-Dec-16 18:47:22

Well, I work in an unusual environment.

The two advocates in my office are both social workers, one for adults and the other for children.

quencher Wed 14-Dec-16 18:58:38

Op, what was their reason for accepting FGM under culture? Are they men or women? Do they understand what goes on? Have they met women and girls who have been affected by this?

My gut tells me they are in the wrong job.

One of the one the biggest reasons for why HIV is rife in African is because of FGM. It's not just infection and not being able give birth properly that's the only problem. For well educated people who are meant to offer protection, thinking the practice that harms young women physically is ok, their acceptance of it is abhorrent.

intheknickersoftime Wed 14-Dec-16 18:59:53

How can they possibly defend? Frightening they hold that view.

intheknickersoftime Wed 14-Dec-16 19:03:01

There is a statutory document that everyone has to read if you work in a school that is incorporated into school policy. They should not hold that view, I agree they are in the wrong job. It's part of safeguarding training.

secular111 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:02:30

That statutory safeguarding policy, even signed, doesn't preclude holding an opinion about a subject. An issue would arise if that view was suspected to have interfered with their duties.

As it is the number of successful prosecutions for FGM in England and Wales is...zero. In essence the policy is 'intervene if FGM is likely or suspected to be planned to take place' but the reality is that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) in England and Wales have made it clear they don't regard FGM as a crime and those mutilated are non-victims.

That attitude has seeped down into other agencies; the Police, the Local Authority protection departments and I suspect, quite a lot of schools.

The UK is now a 'cutting' nation. It crept-up on us, but now FGM in England and Wales is firmly established. 68 mutilated victims cut in the UK have been identified to-date, whilst 137,000 women-and-girls have been cut (normally offshore) but are now resident in the UK.

Unless the (notably) CPS changes its attitude toward FGM, then the cutting will only intensify in prevalence. And the snag is, too many people reckon it is racist to even discuss the subject.

quencher Wed 14-Dec-16 21:03:53

I don't think it's racist and it's one those things where racism should be kept out and the children and teenage girls safeguarded.

This might not be sexual abuse, it's mutilating an important part of the body.

If sexual abuse was ok in another country, would they say it's racist to question it in this country, I doubt it. The people being affected are children and not women who might decide to do this out of choice. This is child abuse.

Op, what happens to those who report it? Are the people responsible prosecuted at all? Or, is it only a crime if it's damaging to the person who has been mutilated?

Lucydogz Wed 14-Dec-16 22:29:53

On Saturday, I attended the launch of Integrate UK, a previously Bristol-based charity, dedicated to challenging FGM. One of the great things about it is that young women (and men) of different communities are powering it, and it is growing. Check out the great music video they've made here.
It is disturbing, but there are groups all over the country you can get involved in to help combat it.

Lucydogz Wed 14-Dec-16 22:31:06

What I meant was - the issue is disturbing, NOT the video

MaryTheCanary Fri 16-Dec-16 05:11:05

"Schools have to be aware and report if they think a girl is at risk of being subjected to fgm."

I sympathize with your sentiments here, but... how? It's not like parents who are thinking about doing this are going to mention it in parents' evenings or to the girls themselves in advance. It usually gets done in school holidays, so you can't just look out for girls who appear to have pain sitting or walking. We all know which ethnic/cultural groups are doing this, but singling them out is taboo.

We have a choice, I think. We can either start subjecting all girls to compulsory genital examinations at various points in their school career (as Sweden tried to do... but there was an outcry and the idea was dropped). Or we can profile, and target only those groups who we know (putting the bullshit aside) are the ones engaging in this practice. Neither of these is an attractive option, to say the least.

If we don't do these things, it's not clear how anyone will ever be prosecuted.

123MothergotafleA Fri 16-Dec-16 05:29:55

Lord alone knows how we can safeguard little girls from having their sexual organs hacked off. FGM just makes it sound like a proper surgical procedure.
I remain baffled as to how a human being can subject their own cherished child to this level of barbarity.
I also fail to know how we as a society can best protect these poor little girls.
I agree that it's totally verboten to routinely physically examine girls, it's another form of abuse and invasion of their precious little bodies.

intheknickersoftime Fri 16-Dec-16 13:34:22

Mary, I think schools have an impossible role here but I know there was a statutory document that I can remember reading when I was an LSA.. iif a mere LSA recognises their moral obligation then a social worker certainly should.

intheknickersoftime Fri 16-Dec-16 13:36:55

I think the biggest thing is education. If a social worker can find this practice in any way defensible then there is clearly a deficit of information in this country.

Tropezienne Fri 16-Dec-16 16:43:34

Many people seem to think It only happens in Africa, it doesn't! It is very much alive and well in the ME also.

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