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Hilary Burrage

is a consultant sociologist. This is her professional website and blog, to share thoughts on sociological analysis, social policy and good practice. Hilary has just written a book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate, 2015), and is currently writing another one, Female Mutilation, on the experience of survivors and others around the globe who are involved in the fight against FGM. Earlier in her career a university Research Associate and a college Senior Lecturer, Hilary now owns a business as a consultant, journalist, writer and speaker. Community engaged, and with grounded board-level and national experience of regeneration, science, health, environmental issues, politics and culture, Hilary has worked and collaborated in many contexts, from Liverpool via London to Prague and New York. A former AFS (American Field Service) Scholar, Hilary is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Anthr/Apological Studies Of FGM As Cultural Excuses For ‘FGC’

April 22, 2015

15.04.22 FGM not Cutting  (2)aAnd so we find ourselves confronted by yet another Anthropologist ‘explaining’ why women ‘choose’ to have themselves ‘cut’. This time (again) it’s Prof Bettina Shell-Duncan of the University of Washington, reporting to The Atlantic on ‘Why Some Women Choose to Get Circumcised‘. She invites us to consider ‘common misconceptions about female genital cutting, including the idea that men force women to undergo the procedure’. When will this comforting denial of the truth finally become a matter of shame for those who promote it?  FGM is vile, patriarchal child abuse.

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The Guardian Global Media Campaign #EndFGMWhyWait

March 12, 2015

15.03.12 #EndFGMWhyWait UN CSW (18)aThe Guardian launched its Global Media Campaign to end FGM at the UN ONE Plaza Hotel on 12 March 2015. The idea is to support the new generation of activists using the media to amplify their message – stop FGM! – to their communities and the world. Here you see two of these determined activists, Domtila Chesang from Kenya and Jaha Dukureh, originally from the Gambia. Their presentations, with those of UN Women Under-Secretary General Mme Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and others, are available here.

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Preventing FGM: Beware A Turf War Between Medicine And Law

March 7, 2015

15.03.07 FGM Conference, Oxford Tobe 027aThe symposium Contestations around FGM: Activism and the Academy, held on 7 March 2015 and organised by Dr Tobe Levin, was a first, in formally bringing together activists and academics to discuss many aspects of continuing efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation.  My task was to contribute to a round table discussion on ‘the benefits, the hurdles and the effects on prevention of committed implementation of the law’. In my paper I examined the risk that an inadvertent turf war around FGM might now be emerging in the UK between the medics and the lawyers.

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Wanted: First-hand Testimony By FGM Survivors, Activists And Campaigners

February 14, 2015

09.02.16 Jotting notebook & pen 033aaaCan you help? My second book about female genital mutilation is very different from my first (a formal textbook). It focuses on the ‘human stories’ behind this harmful traditional practice. I aim to bring to a wider readership the realities of FGM, talking to people in communities, survivors, ‘rescuers’, opponents, campaigners (in the field or diaspora), anyone with direct FGM experience, women, men, older, younger. Please contact me for details. Anonymous, or I’ll try to feature your organisation, if you wish. Thank you!

UK Home Office Consultation On Mandatory Reporting Of FGM – My Response

January 11, 2015

15.01.10 Telephoning 003 (2)

The UK Home Office has been conducting a Consultation on whether and how to introduce a mandatory reporting requirement for female genital mutilation FGM), as proposed in the Home Affairs (Vaz) Report in 2014. I agree absolutely that reporting of FGM should be mandatory for professionals directly involved, but I’d like to see a single, much more integrated and comprehensive approach – eg including all suspected child abuse, plus adult FGM (and forced marriage?) with a national network of trained Abuse Reporting Officers.  This is my submission:

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So What Have Politicians Done For The UK ‘End FGM’ Campaign In 2014?

January 1, 2015

07.03.14 Westminster 4762a (6)It’s been a busy year for activists seeking to stop female genital mutilation in Britain. We’ve seen media campaigns, debates in Parliament, more research on incidence and a full Home Affairs Committee investigation, chaired by Keith Vaz, which resulted in a report, Female genital mutilation: the case for a national action plan.  This is a version of the piece I wrote for Huffington Post, as a review of political progress towards ending FGM in Britain in 2014.

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My 2014 Blog In Review (According To WordPress!)

December 30, 2014

The WordPress.com stats people sent me an annual report for this blog. Here’s their summary:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

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