Sunday, 22 July, 2018

South Yorkshire Police backs 'zero tolerance day' for female genital mutilation

75% Bohra women admit female genital mutilation study South Yorkshire Police backs 'zero tolerance day' for female genital mutilation
Melinda Barton | 06 February, 2018, 16:14

The report, titled "The Clitoral Hood a Contested Site: Khafd or Female Genital mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in India", states that presence of laws against FGM and cutting in Australia, the United States and Canada, and a lack of them in India, is contributing to the arrival of Bohra expats and foreign women to the country for the procedure.

"FGM is illegal and, as a police force, we are here to support girls and women whether at risk of this crime or as victims of it".

As the World marks the Zero Tolerance on Anti-FGM today, Loloju said the introduction of Anti-FGM as a topic in the new school curriculum will give birth to anti-FGM clubs which will help create more awareness against the vice. Although it is a universal problem, it was started as an initiative primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Campaigners say the tradition - often justified for cultural or religious reasons - is underpinned by the desire to control female sexuality. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. "Given that most girls are cut at age seven, without anaesthesia, by traditional cutters, and the procedure happens in a minute or two, the operator does not get enough time to figure the separation between the clitoris and the skin it".

The procedures, which can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths, are thought to ensure premarital virginity and prepare a girl for adulthood and marriage. It can include removal or partial removal of a woman's external genitalia, narrowing of the vaginal opening and other harmful procedures like pricking or cauterising the genital area. This is primarily due to a recent legal action of FGM/C among Bohras in Australia and United States of America and the absence of an anti-FGM law in India. The clitoris is referred to as the "Haram ki boti" or a "sinful piece of flesh". We must engage with these individuals and widen their perspective regarding the performance of culture, gender, and community. "Khafz is a harmless cultural/religious practice unique to the Dawoodi Bohra community". Indeed, the practice has no benefits for girls and women but rather in the name of ensuring fidelity in females, FGM exposes them to health hazards and psychological trauma.

Professor Kandala is a world expert in statistical analysis and has spent the last 15 years working with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) to map global health and disease in developing countries. Many women want this custom to be abolished but very few speak out in public. Many communities also believe that FGM reduces the libido of female-bodied people - and so will prevent them from conducting extra-marital affairs. It results in deep rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes as an extreme form of discrimination against females. Thus, we can not afford our women and children to be subjected to this risky, life threatening, inhuman, degrading and shameful FGM practice in this country any longer. While FGM/C is often associated with Africa, it is more widespread in Asian countries, including Malaysia.