Cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) have been unusually high across England in recent months.
FGM is defined as the deliberate partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
The Independent reports that an average of 15 cases were reported daily in the month of November reaching a total of 466 cases. October was the first month in which these figures were being reported, which resulted in 455 cases. The statistics and data for last month are expected to be released this week by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Although the practice has been illegal in the U.K. since 1985, no one has yet been convicted for the practice since then. Dhanuson Dharmasena, who is currently on trial for allegedly performing the practice on a patient in the Whittington hospital of north London, is facing the first prosecution of its kind in the U.K.
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“It is vital all health professionals are trained to spot the signs of FGM and that girls who are subjected to this brutal practice get the post-traumatic support they deserve,” said John Cameron, the NSPCC’s head of child protection operations. He also referred to FGM as a “barbaric practice."
The practice can pose a risk to childbirth, cause infertility, increase the chance of infection and potentially even result in death. With an estimated 20,000 girls under the age of 15 at risk every year just in the U.K., it is time for the nation to take an aggressive approach to prevent this abuse from continuing.
In an article published on National Review Online, Wesley J. Smith also explains that FGM
"violates the basic and human rights of these girls–and no matter how much the “intactivists” hysterically howl–it is fundamentally different in fact and intent from male infant circumcision (which can be legitimately debated on its own terms):
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- FGM’s purpose is to subjugate:
- FGM aims to destroy normal female sexual response.
- FGM commonly leads to serious health consequences.
- There is no specific scriptural passage instructing girls’ genitals to be cut in any major world religion."
Here is a map which displays each U.S. state's policies on FGM in 2007:
An estimated 130 million women have undergone FGM, explains Ben Tuft of the Independent. It is a practice that is prevalent in parts of Africa as well as some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures on young girls. It is time for legislators and law enforcement to focus more on this growing epidemic. Although it may be unrealistic to completely eliminate the practice in all parts of the world, there is certainly much work that can be done to improve the situation.