Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The procedure is usually carried out in secret and leaves victims in agony. Survivors can be left with lifelong physical problems and psychological trauma, and some even lose their lives.
Hawa Sesay, a victim of female genital mutilation and founder of the Hawa Trust, who campaigns against violence against women and girls, said: 'Raising awareness of FGM is important because women may be unwilling to come forward for help, or they may be unaware of what is available or not know how to ask.
They may find it difficult to raise the topic of FGM with health care staff because they know that practitioners may have limited awareness of it, and may respond negatively. Nurses and midwives need to know about FGM and need to deal with the issue sensitively - offering women support and referral to a specialist FGM clinic. Ultimately we need a drop-in centre in Hackney and a safe place for FGM survivors were they will meet and talk about their trauma'.
Head of Children, Young People and Families at Hackney CVS, Kristine Wellington comments: 'While FGM is a national issue, its individual households where there's a real taboo about discussing it. We are working closely with key local organisations such as the Hawa Trust, to make sure this subject is on the agenda’.
Rise Community Action, 18 February, 2 - 4.30pm, Halkevi Community Centre, 31-33 Dalston Lane, London, E8 3DF. The event will feature an FGM Awareness workshop, a talk on community engagement towards achieving zero tolerance to FGM and personal testimony by an FGM survivor. Contact Rita or Janet via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 07528 793 863 / 07984 798 212
Learn more about FGM and learn how to prevent it here.
To contact the NSPCC FGM helpline call 0800 0283550 or email email@example.com