In April, U.K. hospitals began to be required to keep records of patients who had undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). Half a year later,
Shocking statistics obtained by ITV News Central reveal that more than 400 women in the Midlands have been seen in hospitals with FGM in the last six months — including four children.
The Midlands have a population of some 9.5 million people. I could not find statistics on the percentage of Muslim females who live there — the group most likely to be subjected to the barbaric practice. The number reported by ITV is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg, considering that the vast majority of women in the at-risk group would not have visited a clinic or hospital in the past six months, and that most of those who did were not there for gynecological procedures that would have exposed the damage.
The statistics from four health trusts across the Midlands reveal a snap-shot of the extent of FGM. But as many other hospitals failed to give ITV Central their statistics, health experts believe the figure is far higher.
The ITV article quotes Birmingham-based FGM survivor Adama Jabbi, who says she nearly died after she was genitally cut when she was a child.
“They will grab you, blindfold you and two elders will hold you and they will take your legs apart and someone will hold you hands and cover your mouth so they don’t hear you scream. It was so painful and there was no anaesthetic. I nearly died because the bleeding was so much I collapsed. I was eight but I can remember everything even now.”
According to Britain’s National Health Service,
It has been estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM. However, the true extent is unknown, due to the “hidden” nature of the crime. The girls may be taken to their countries of origin so that FGM can be carried out during the summer holidays, allowing them time to “heal” before they return to school. There are also worries that some girls may have FGM performed in the UK. …
FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. The procedure is traditionally carried out by a woman with no medical training. Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments are not generally used, and the practice is usually carried out using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades.
Under British law, those who carry out or facilitate FGM can be jailed for up to 14 years. Apparently, though, any deterrent effect of a jail sentence is no match for the demands of religion and culture.
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