Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse which is estimated to effect around 140 million girls and women around the world. FGM is the partial or complete removal of a girl’s external genitals, and is a practice undertaken without any medical supervision or pain relief. There are no health benefits and the effects on girls and women who have FGM last forever. Girls and women who have had FGM may have problems urinating, menstruating and there may also be issues with childbirth, as well as long lasting psychological effects. Some use ‘religion’ as an excuse for practicing FGM, but there is nothing in the Bible, the Koran or any other religious text that advocates FGM. FGM is cultural practice which is a gross violation of a girls human rights; it is cruel, inhuman and degrading and is a form of honour based violence as girls are being controlled in order to increase their marriageability.
Suffolk Refugee Support takes a holistic approach towards ending FGM. We are working with affected communities to improve their understanding as to the harmful effects of FGM. We are also working with schools to ensure every child is protected from FGM; through our schools programme we offer free, bespoke FGM Awareness and Safeguarding Training, PSHE Lesson plans for primary and secondary schools, as well as help with writing FGM safeguarding policies. We are also working with mental health services to ensure there is help available for survivors of FGM.
We are currently looking for volunteers for our FGM Project – for more info, please visit our volunteer page.
FGM is illegal in the UK and it is also illegal to take a girl out of the country to undergo FGM. If you are concerned about yourself, or someone you know, please call Customer First on 0808 800 4005 or speak in confidence to your teacher or trusted adult. You can also call the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550. It’s free, anonymous and available 24/7.
If you are living with the consequences of FGM there are support services available within Suffolk, for more information please contact Jodi Peck at Suffolk Refugee Support.