Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Why \\\'The Rise Of FGM Cases In The West Midlands\\\' Isn\\\'t As Bad As It Sounds

Why A Rise In FGM Reports Isn't As Bad As It Sounds

The Debrief: A rise in reports mean that police will dedicate more resources to stopping FGM...

For most of us, summer is a time of going out on the cheap, dossing about in parks until a late night sunset and feeling a sense of ease and silliness with the world. Well, for 20,000 British girls across the UK, that's just not the case.

Because each and every one of them is at risk of being taken 'on holiday' where the ritual of 'cutting' (FGM) will be carried out on them by a village elder. This older woman will cut all or part of the girl's outer genitals away. Why? To control the girl, to make her 'clean', to mean that she's all tight for her husband to be.

You might already know all this, and if you do? That's great, because increased awareness has been credited with prompting the powers that be to look at just how many women have gone through this ordeal.

Last year, West Midlands police did that, investigating occurrences of FGM in their area, because they didn't have a good enough idea of how many women had suffered it. Their report now shows 'Official statistics from acute hospitals in the seven districts show[ing] that between September 2014 and March 2015 there were 632 newly identified cases of women and girls in the West Midlands who have undergone FGM.'

It's now a crime for frontline workers e.g. health workers, teachers to not report FGM when they know it's gone on. so as much as these figures might shock, it's almost quite positive that police can finally recognise how prolific FGM is. As a result of the report, West Midlands police will now launch a task force specifically trained to be concerned with issues relating to FGM and the forced travel that happens before the 'cutting' ceremony.

The report said: 'There is inadequate evidence about whether the practice is performed in the UK.

'Further work needs to be undertaken to ascertain whether or not there are cutters based or working in the West Midlands.'

Conspiring to commit FGM is a prosecutable crime with a 14 year jail sentence attached but no-one has actually been sent to prison for it because it nearly always takes place on 'holiday'.

Like this? You may also be interested in: 

Vaginal Piercings To Be Classed As FGM Under New Guidelines

'People Need To Know What's Happening Here' Why You Need To Watch Zawe Ashton's Comic Relief Documentary On FGM

Students Sue College For 'Making Them Have Vagina Tests'

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Tags: FGM