As many of my friends and contacts know on twitter and elsewhere, I am a passionate activist and campaigner to end this extreme violence towards young girls and women. I work for Tareto maa (at http://www.tareto-maa.org ) to assist in the care of currently 104 girls, who live in a refuge in Kilgoris, Kenya .These girls have sought safety and shelter from this form of barbaric mutilation and torture. For those girls in Tareto Maa’s care they have the fortunate advantage, not only to be kept safe, but are given a future by going to school.
Today, I want my readers to think of the thousand of girls who are not so lucky as the ones who live in the care of Tareto Maa. In the UK alone up to 24,000 girls aged 15 and under are at risk of this practice (Home Office, 2012). Here are some current facts and figures about the practice and if you are new to this subject, the World Health Organisation gives an overview here of what FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is and why it is carried out. We often dwell on the physical aspects of this but the psychological trauma is very great and compared to a extreme sexual assault such as rape. The effects of FGM are long lasting and permanent and affect potentially every aspect of a women’s life.
So can we eradicate this practice in this next generation, as is suggested by experts in this field? For me personally I think we may do, but there is still a long way to go. While FGM numbers are reducing within the Kilgoris district where Tareto Maa is actively working, reports of girls from European countries going oversees for “circumcision” are reported to be increasing. Much work in supporting grass-roots intiatives like Tareto Maa is needed as well as promoting alternative rites of practice, such as the work of one organisation Tostan.
So, if this subject has touched you in anyway then go away and find out more and then do what I am trying to do. Do more than just read or write about it. Tareto Maa, UK is actively seeking British people, with internet access, who may want to help us on this subject. However small this help may take, I would personally want to hear from you. So e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be only glad to be in touch. If you are from another country we would still love to hear from you, as we work to support Tareto Maa from other areas of Europe and the USA. So please feel feel to e-mail us for any inforamtion on email@example.com
I could say many more words about this cruel subject, there is so much to say, so much debate but one thing is certain and agreed upon. It has to stop! Will you help us?