While FGM may not affect you or your beloved ones directly, it still has affects on your life in other ways...
When a girl undergoes FGM she becomes part of system that discriminates against women and girls simply because of their gender, manifesting in the controlling of their bodies. This restricts women and girls from accessing their basic human rights, including their dignity, freedom from violence, right to health and access to education and proper health care. As a result, there are 200 million women and girls worldwide living with the lifelong consequences of FGM, and over 130 million girls from around the world are missing from our classrooms.
The harmful practice of FGM, together with all other forms of gender-based violence against women and girls, comes at a cost to everyone in the long term. This is evident also from an economic perspective, since in Europe alone, gender-based violence costs governments 226 billion euros every year.
Moreover, the education systems suffer, with teachers loosing students and potentially dealing with girls showing signs of psychological trauma. The medical sector is also affected with doctors, health professionals, midwives, gynecologists, psychotherapists and surgeons having to treat the dire physical and psychological consequences of FGM and assist women throughout their lives. Furthermore, the private life of thousands of families are affected, with husbands, fathers and brothers facing the suffering and pain of their wives, daughters and sisters. The lifelong consequences of FGM and other forms of gender-based violence against women also perpetuate poverty trends and undermine sustainable development worldwide, with imbalanced working communities everywhere not contributing in their full potential to both families’ incomes and countries’ economies.
These are only a few examples to describe how people from all over suffer from the absence of women and girls taking an equal role. With no one to represent them, women lose their voice in society – causing oversight in their rights and needs. Without the balanced presence of both men and women, society cannot function fairly and equally.
So you see, FGM is #MyIssueToo.
Too often, FGM is neglected by the majority of the population and considered as a marginal issue that only interests few.
This is unfortunately reflected also at political level, where currently FGM is well addressed in certain policy areas and fields such as justice, violence against women and girls (VAWG), gender equality and human rights, while there are others where FGM needs to be more strongly and consistently tackled, such as in the field of migration, health, research and data collection.
Over the years, much has changed thanks to the continuous commitment of survivors, communities, local and international organisations and engaged professionals both in Europe and in countries of origin - but we still need to spread the word wider and we won’t get there without your help!