Let's stand together to end FGM
AMINA JIMALE, BS7 | Bristol, United Kingdom
The UN estimates that 2 million girls undergo FGM every day. I am advocating for more awareness and an end to FGM in my community.
Warning, this entry includes material that may be upsetting for some readers.
FGM is an outdated practice involves cutting and removing the clitoris. Sadly, it is also a big part of Somali culture. It’s so widespread in Somalia that 98% of females have had the procedure done. Of all those thousands of females, my mum is also a survivor.
A bit of background info for those who don’t understand the rationale for FGM. FGM is done on young girls, usually around the ages of 6-10 years, without their consent. The family schedule a session with ‘so-called-doctor’ or FGM practiser (mostly a female). This procedure has no health benefits and has been proven to cause trauma, infection, infertility, and birth complications later in life. There is a belief that if girls don’t get FGM done, they may end up being addicted to sex and become prostitutes. Removing the clitoris nullifies the pleasurable feeling from sex. Ultimately, sex becomes painful and is only expected to be performed when planning for children.
I decided to focus my change marker activity on FGM because it’s an ever-increasing problem not only with the Somali community but also globally. I am advocating for more awareness of FGM within my community because since the COVID-19 pandemic, FGM rates have raised. This is shocking and heart-breaking because funding for anti-FGM campaigns have dried up as a result of economic instability and uncertainty. This has meant that young girls and women that could’ve been saved and educated have been failed by society.
My mum remembers going to the back of her mother’s bedroom to meet this lady. She cried through the whole experience. The trauma she suffered translated into suicidal thoughts and birth complications later down the line. My mum is my inspiration and drive behind my chosen activism. I hope to live in a world where no woman must go through what my mother went through.
I am planning to host community talks to create awareness about FGM. So far, I have been able to get into contact with St Paul’s Community Centre and the Advice Centre to host a virtual talk. What I hope to get out of this activity is to educate girls to be more vigilant and mothers to understand that their daughter’s bodies’ do not belong to them. A future goal would be seeing an FGM activist receive a Noble Peace Prize (fingers crossed!).
A counterargument against my activism is that it’s not a Bristol or UK problem. What I mean by this is that FGM is not a UK problem since it happens more in countries like Somalia. However, it’s all of problem. Feminism should be universal and aim to empower women all around the world and if we deceive to exclude women based on geographic location or culture, then feminism should change its name to Western feminism. To combat this problem, I will try to reach out to people who are not just of Somali background but of all types of backgrounds. This will not only get the message to a wider audience but also create an allyship between all women.
I hope this blog post gave you a quick insight into FGM, what it is, and what activism I am currently doing. Get involved and spread the message!