Understanding FGM

Understanding FGM

Posted on Jun 22, 2016

Understanding FGM



How the media explains FGM

In June of this year, The Guardian reported that more than 1,200 FGM cases were recorded across England in the three months between January and March of 2016. 1,242 newly recorded cases of FGM were reported and two per cent of new cases were girls under the age of 18.

The spike in recorded cases most likely has something to do with the new mandatory reporting duty (introduced as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015) that requires all health professionals, social workers and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under-18-year-olds to the police.

Having looked into the way The Guardian newspaper reported the new figures, we decided to take a look into other forms of media, and how they portray FGM in different ways.



Sky News were recently urged by Leyla Hussein (activist against female genital mutilation and co-founder Daughters of Eve) not to air footage they had obtained showing a girl being cut in Somalia, saying it is the equivalent to filming child abuse.

Hussein was asked to appear on Sky News for an interview after the filmed segment about the prevalence of FGM in the Puntland region of Somalia.

Hussein was about the same age as the girl featured in the film when she herself was subjected to FGM.

Speaking in an interview to The Guardian, Hussein said:

“You can see her face. People are watching. The film crew are filming. No one intervenes… When I was cut I remember that most of all — no one intervened.”

Hussein refused to take part in the show and highlighted Sky News’ plans regarding the feature, causing a ripple of disapproval. Women and girls’ rights group Equality Now argued it threatened to undo work to frame FGM as child abuse, stating:

“The segment will break broadcasting guidelines by showing an image of child abuse. She can and did not consent to any of this. Bystanders are potentially at risk of action being taken against them too.”



‘Needlecraft’ was created by British activist and filmmaker Ruth Beni. This four-minute film tells the harrowing story of Female Genital Mutilation in an animation using needle and thread.

The film, which recently won the gold world medal at the 2016 International Television & Film Awards competition, has been used in many countries around the world to help raise awareness about FGM.

You can watch the video here:




Hibo Wardere was only six-years-old when she was cut. Ordered by her mother, she was forced down on a bed, her legs held apart and FGM was performed on her. Wardere’s ordeal was so brutal she nearly died.

As a survivor of FGM, Wardere has since written a book ‘Cut: One Woman's Fight Against FGM in Britain Today’. She writes about her own experiences and also her fight against FGM in Britain today.

Wardere moved to the UK (London more specifically) when she was 18. Following her move, she quickly learned the procedure she had undergone in her home country was not 'normal' in the west. She embarked on a journey to understand FGM and its roots, whilst raising her own family and dealing with the devastating consequences of the cutting in her own life.

Today Hibo finds herself working in London as an FGM campaigner, helping young girls whose families plan to take them abroad for the procedure. She has vowed to devote herself to the campaign against FGM and is currently pressuring the Government for the dangers of FGM to be put on the national curriculum so that the UK 'can raise an entire generation to protect themselves'.


Action to take should you suspect someone is at risk of FGM

It is important that you incorporate FGM awareness within your safeguarding policies. This way, if any member of staff suspects someone may be at risk, they will have the correct information to help them.


NSPCC FGM Helpline:

T: 0800 028 3550

E: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

Metropolitan Police Project Azure (FGM)

T: 0207 161 2888


Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

T: 0207 008 1500 E: fgm@fco.gov.uk


buy flick's FGM training now

For more information on FGM and for alternative helplines please click here



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