Monday, 3 February 2014

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Kate Holt/Shoot The Earth/ActionAid

The 6th of February is International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. You might believe that it has very little (if anything) to do with you. After all, we keep moaning about the weather, British men, the cost of life in London, and so on, and so forth. Come to think of it, we are indulging in very first world problems, right? As much as I believe that sexism is still rife in Europe (I like rugby, but the rugby team mentality in the workplace is not always nice...or appropriate, right?), even I have to admit that my very selfish problems are nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what some women go through. Well, from time to time, we need to care for each other. That's why I have teamed up with Action Aid today (I am one of their ambassadors and I sponsor a child in India with them). You can support their campaign here.  Here is what they have to say:
6th February International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation – is about raising awareness of the practise – encouraging people to take a stand and to help eradicate it.
Female genital mutilation is the deliberate mutilation of the female genitalia – commonly carried out on girls between the ages of four and twelve. It can cause severe bleeding, infection, infertility and death and currently more than 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the effects that’s more than double the UK population. The practise is unnecessary. 


Here’s one girl’s story:

 Christine, 17 years old, was subjected to female genital mutilation when she was 15, before being forced to marry a much older man.
“My mother and brothers said it was the only thing for my future. When it had been done to me and I was in seclusion, an old man came to my brothers and gave him 15 cows to marry me.

“When the time came for the marriage ceremony his relatives and some guards carried me away. I didn’t want to go and cried. The old man had a wife before me too. She was much older and just treated me like one of her children.

“On my first night in the house with the old man we were left alone together. He forced himself on me and I felt so much pain that I cried [I will spare you the rest. Suffice to say that, if Christine had been my daughter, I would have begged her to forgive me for the rest of my life]”

Christine escaped the house and ran to Kongelai where she sought help from the head of the mixed primary school who subsequently contacted ActionAid. By working with the Kongelai Women’s Network, ActionAid was able to help Christine find a place at school. The chief of Christine’s village was contacted and alerted to what had happened and her family is beginning to accept the wrongdoing. Christine is building a relationship with her family.  
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All Christine needed was one person to care for her, understand what she had been through, and help her to rebuild her life. Action Aid is creating such a network. Because, come to think of it, don't you think that we all need a helping hand from time to time? Who has never ever needed help? It is not always plain sailing, right? So be generous, contribute to the campaign or simply help spreading the word. Thank you.


21 comments:

  1. I have read similar stories that make me sick. Thank you for sharing this. I have passed it on since I am not in a position to do anything else.

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    1. Thank you Ann. I can't believe that such practices still exist.

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  2. My son's significant other has done a lot of field work and research in this area- to stop the process. She actually wrote a great paper on it, too. http://sites.fordschool.umich.edu/mjpa/files/2013/11/ruderman.pdf

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    1. It is indeed a great paper. Very pragmatic approach. I have forwarded it to ActionAid

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  3. This is sickening. Thanks for writing this post and spreading awareness. I think in the US we don't hear as much about some 3rd world issues as you do in Europe. Glad to share!

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    1. Thank you. Frankly, we don't hear much about it over here either...

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  4. It's hard to believe such injustice is still going on. Thank you the work you are doing with ActionAid to help put a stop to a practice that definitely belongs in the archives of history!

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    1. I am not doing much Amanda. I wish I could do more.

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  5. It's such a horrible custom. And one of the things that is worst is that it is often women who perpetuate it. I often wonder what is going through their minds. "I had to do it, so should everyone else?" I can't imagine people being so cruel. Or not so many people.

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    1. It doesn't make any sense, does it? Why would you make your daughter suffer like this?

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  6. There are no words to describe precisely how cruel this act is. I shall definitely be spreading the word and contributing to the campaign. Thank you for creating awareness about this. It definitely puts things in to perspective.

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    1. Thank you. I hope hat things will improve!

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  7. It's a horrific thing to do, but they justify by saying the girls will never get married if they aren't mutilated. There needs to be a total mind shift throughout the societies that accept this, both men and women. Better education would help too but 'traditions' are deeply rooted in societies.

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    1. I really don't understand why such traditions are still going strong. I must be missing something.

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  8. Thank you, Muriel, for spreading awareness about such a horrific procedure. I don't think I will ever understand it. And you are right, our problems can be so trivial compared to those in less developed areas.

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    1. It put things into perspective, right?

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    1. I know. I can't believe that, in this day and age, we are still having to deal with such problems.

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  10. What women have to accept in some countries is just horrible. Thank you for posting.

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    1. Thank you for your support Carol. It is sickening.

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  11. It's great that you are involved in this campaign. I can't imagine the horrors these women go through and really don't understand the purpose of it. Thanks for sharing this Muriel.

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