Articles on Shifting Sands
FGM: moral crusaders on the march
This BBC recorded discussion from July 2014 was held mainly among women who had undergone FGM as well as campaigners against the practice.
It’s well worth listening to.
Participants, mainly from African countries, share their experiences and usefully explain some of the reasons why FGM has been practiced for centuries.
Many vividly recount the types they were subjected to as children.
One woman from Sierra Leon, who voluntarily chose to undergo FGM as an adult, attempts to explain why she did this. She also tries to correct some of the inaccuracies and misconceptions aired in the discussion about the extent and types of FGM practiced.
Others attempt to explain why the practice is being campaigned against in Britain and in France and the differences between the campaigns in both countries.
Unfortunately this was also an example of people wanting to hear what they wanted to hear in regard to the practice.
The moral crusade against FGM had already begun.
About the Author - Bríd Hehir
Bríd is a retired health professional. She started her career as a (volunteer) nurse and midwife in Africa, in Ethiopia and Botswana, where she worked for almost four years. She encountered FGM/C in Ethiopia.
She then moved to London where she worked in the National Health Service as a midwife, community nurse, health visitor, reproductive and sexual health nurse and manager over a period of 30 years. She did not encounter FGM/C during that time despite working with immigrant communities who are reported to practice it still.
She is puzzled by the current reported prevalence of the practice, the official response and associated activism. And is worried that they might cause more harm than good.