Blog 10: Female genital mutilation “rising in soft-touch Scotland”
Young females are being brought to Scotland from England and around Europe are travelling here to have their daughters cut. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all producers that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is reported that people who aid or carried out the procedure, either in Scotland or abroad, faced up to 14 years imprisonment. This practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, as well as in some countries in Asia and the Middle East. It’s estimated that about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. FGM was introduced in 1985 but since then there has not been a single prosecution. The Scottish legislation made it illegal to take girls abroad to conduct the practice in 2005. Police Scotland Det Ch Supt Gill Imery said that every daughter that is born in Scotland to a mother who has undergone FGM should be considered a child protection case. She also says “it most definitely is a form of child abuse and would be investigated as such.” Schools in the areas where this is happening are doing huge amounts of work to raise awareness within their own staff, such as looking for unexplained absences from school. Anela Anwar, of Scotland charity Roshni, said” Because Scotland had been lacking somewhat in a prosecution, families are coming up from England and Wales into Scotland is now being viewed as a place that doesn’t take the issue of female genital mutilation seriously.” According to the Police Scotland they have identified almost 3,000 school pupils in Scotland from countries where FGM is prevalent.
In reading this article, it is clear to see that women in some countries still do not have a choice in things that happen to them. FGM is happening to young female children, and they do not have a say in it. The article provides a firsthand account from someone who underwent the procedure herself, Fatou Baldeh, of Dignity Alert and Research Forum in Edinburgh, is originally from The Gambia and underwent the procedure at only the age of seven. She says, “I was blindfolded, some people held my hands, other people held my legs. I remember I was screaming for my mum and grandmother, to help me. But no-one did.” This may come as a shock to some people who might have read this article, to know that a mother and a grandmother would let this happen to their child and granddaughter. The fact this is still going on today, in a world where we are supposed to have our own right to choice what happens to our own body, just shows how far we have yet to come. One might think that this would only happen in a third world country, but this is happening in Scotland. While, they might be behind in the punishment for doing the procedure, they are more advanced than say a country in Africa. People are going to Scotland, because they find that it is a safe place to have the procedure perform. This procedure goes against all human rights. It is taking away the daughters choice of whether or not she wants to have the procedure. The parents make the choice, and the daughters have no say in the matter. This procedure my cause complications for them as they grow older and want to have children of their own.