the taboo topic - put an end to fgm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This article talks about the inhumane practice of female genital mutilation. This was published in a UK nursing journal in February 2014 some stats may be out of date, however it is still a very relevant topic.

Submitted: February 04, 2016

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Submitted: February 04, 2016

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Around 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). Defined by the World Health Organization as ‘procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons’, the practice is usually carried out on girls between infancy and age 15.

Despite being illegal in the UK since 1985, latest government figures suggest that more than 66,000 women in the UK have already undergone FGM, and more than 24,000 girls are at risk. Its prevalence in the UK is thought to be due to an increase in first generation immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from areas where FGM is common, including many African countries and parts of the Middle East and South East Asia. The practice is often in?uenced by cultural concepts of femininity and modesty; girls are viewed as ‘clean’ after the removal of body parts that are considered ‘male and unclean’, and proponents believe it promotes pre-marital virginity and marital fidelity

FGM is usually performed without anaesthetic. Immediate complications include shock, haemorrhage, sepsis and possible infection with diseases such as HIV, while long-term consequences include recurrent urinary tract infections, painful and prolonged menstruation, infertility and increased risk of childbirth complications and stillbirth. Women who have undergone FGM also experience mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, low self esteem, genital phobia and denial of sexuality.


Zero tolerance

In The Cruel Cut – a Channel 4 documentary screened in 2013 – women who had undergone FGM spoke of their anger and disbelief that their mothers had allowed this to happen to them. One said the practice had left her with enuresis (bed wetting), while another told how she was infertile because of FGM. The documentary also highlighted the lack of FGM awareness in the training of professionals in a position to report and act on it, including nurses.

To date (Feb 2014) there has not been one prosecution in connection with FGM in the UK. But moves are afoot to raise awareness of the practice and to stop the abuse.

To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance on February 6, the government announced a range of measures to combat FGM. These include extra child protection training for nurses, GPs, teachers and the police; and funding for a study into prevalence rates of FGM in England and Wales. From April, it will also become mandatory for nurses in acute hospitals to record information on a national database on women who have undergone genital mutilation.

Although these are steps in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before young girls are truly safe from FGM. Let us be very clear: FGM is child abuse and we must not be afraid to speak out. As health professionals who come into contact with patients from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, nurses are ideally placed to spot those who may be vulnerable to FGM, and signpost people to where they can get help.

 
 


© Copyright 2020 Nicola Macbeth. All rights reserved.

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