20,000 signatures reached
To: Victoria Atkins - Minister for Safeguarding
Stop Female Genital Mutilation
I am writing to ask you to make it a PRIORITY to stop all Female Genital Mutilation in Britain NOW. As responsible and caring adults it is our duty to protect ALL our children. As you know FGM is a barbaric and sadistic practice usually carried out with no anaesthetic.
Why do we regularly prosecute people for treating animals cruelly - and yet to this day not one single person has been prosecuted in the UK for cutting off the genitals of young girls?! This is a completely horrific reality which we cannot allow to continue!
Unbelievably one of the main clinics working to combat FGM in London was forced to close recently due to loss of local authority funding and now the Dahlia Project - another important FGM action group is also in danger of closure due to lack of financial support!!.
Not even one more girl should have to undergo this horrendous and unbelievably cruel form of torture and those that have had their genitals removed need to be offered re-constructive surgery and psychological counselling as soon as possible to enable them to recover both physically and mentally from their horrific experiences.
Thank you for listening to us - we are trusting in you to act now.
Rebecca Roberts and the following signatories.
Why is this important?
When a girl undergoes female genital cutting, some or all of her external genitals are cut away. This can be part or all of her labia, part or all of her clitoris and part or all of her clitoral hood (the prepuce). In its most extreme form, all of her external genitals will be cut away. This often happens in very basic circumstances with rudimentary tools; it is unlikely that there will be any anaesthetic or sterile conditions and often severe and life threatening complications follow FGM.
In the harshest form of FGM, the wound that is left may be sewn closed with thorns or string and only a small hole is left for menstrual blood and urine. The wound then heals over and the scar tissue “seals” her vagina. When she is married she will then have to be cut open to make sexual intercourse possible, often on her wedding night. When she goes into labour, she has to be cut open again. After this she may be re-sewn and cut open again every time she conceives and gives birth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies FGM into four categories dependent on severity (initially there were three categories, the fourth was added later):
Type I: Also known as clitoridectomy, this type consists of partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or its prepuce.
Type II: Also known as excision, the clitoris and labia minora are partially or totally removed, with or without excision of the labia majora.
Type III: The most severe form, it is also known as infibulation or pharaonic type. The procedure consists of narrowing the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or labia majora, with or without removal of the clitoris. The appositioning of the wound edges consists of stitching or holding the cut areas together for a certain period of time (for example, girls’ legs are bound together), to create the covering seal. A small opening is left for urine and menstrual blood to escape. An infibulation must be opened either through penetrative sexual intercourse or surgery.
Type IV: This type consists of all other procedures to the genitalia of women for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
The usual age for girls to be cut is between five and eight although in some communities, girls undergo FGM in their early teenage years and the procedure acts as a rite of passage into womanhood.
Throughout history barbaric practices have been stopped mainly through a sustained process of education and legislation. FGM has continued because it has been a secretive and taboo subject. It is time to break the silence, educate and legislate, and eradicate FGM totally.
How it will be delivered
When the petition has raised 100,000 signatures we will organize a press conference and deliver the petition in person to Victoria Atkin - Home Office Minister responsible for action on FGM