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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The horror of female genital mutilation

An 11 year old British girl was terrified she would suffer the same fate as her 12 year old sister who was taken by her aunt to her grandmother's house in Gambia, West Africa for the brutal procedure known as female genital mutilation.  She eventually told one of her teachers who put her in touch with a charity called Equality Now who published this, her letter.

Dear Madam, my name is xxx and I am 11 years old.  I and my mum, sisters and brother came to England in 2005 when I had just turned 6 years old to join my dad who was at university.  We come from Gambia, West Africa.

Three weeks ago we were watching a TV programme on African culture and they were showing girls having their privates cut, my older sister who is 12 years old started crying.  After 2 days she told my dad that she also had her privates cut.

Mum and dad never knew about it and she was told if she ever told anyone the spirits will come and kill her immediately.  She said it was done one weekend by my aunties at my nans house. Last Friday mum took her to our GP to have her checked and the doctor said it was done to her.

This morning when I went to school I told one of my teachers about it and together we went on the computer and found your group.  The teacher asked  me to write to you and ask for your help, I don't want my privates cut by anyone.

My dad loves us very much and he did not like what they done to my sister and he is very confused.  We should be going back to Gambia any time after Eid and he is worried and upset that they would do the same to me.

If you reply to this letter, I will show my dad and I am sure that he would be very glad to have your help.  He is my best friend and if he knows what to do he would do it, he would not want anything to hurt us - I know that.

Please madam help me and my dad.  If you reply soon he would definitely contact you if you can help.  I really hope you can help me, not to have my privates cut.  I am really confused especially seeing my dad so unhappy and not knowing what to do.

Thank you very much for reading this letter.

Even though it's illegal, it's going on here, every day in Australia behind closed doors.  More than 120,000 migrant women have suffered genital mutilation which is carried out on girls between the age of 4 and 10. The brutal procedure is practiced in Africa, South America, parts of Asia and the Middle East.  It varies between a small cut in the girl's clitoris, to the entire removal of the genitals. In extreme cases, the wound is sewn up to leave only one opening the size of a matchstick for urination and menstruation.

Imam Afroz Ali, one religious leader prepared to talk about it said women doing the cutting charge a fee of between $2000-$3000, yet they have no medical qualifications.  "These are women from a village who have migrated to Australia and have access to a razor blade and are considered to be an elder or wise person in the community."

In September 2012, police arrested a Sydney Sheik and a 68 year old nurse for the genital mutilation of two girls, 7 and 8. Their parents were arrested two days later.

Let's hope those keeping this foul custom alive got the message.