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Two Books, One Purpose: To End FGM

January 30, 2016

15.07.14 FGM Book1 jacket jpeg16.01.22 Female Mutilation book pic (3)I have now written two books about female genital mutilation. The first was Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (Ashgate, 2015) and the second, due out very soon, is Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishers, 2016). The material is very different but, as I wrote (below) , the intention is the same. We must #EndFGM. Now.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).   Contents and reviews  here.

FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).   Contents and reviews  here.

My first book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (Ashgate, 2015) was written because, as a sociologist specialising in women’s health and equality / human rights, I wanted to articulate in one volume the complex and varied threads factors influencing this cruel damage to the well-being of women and girls and their communities.

Concerned since the 1980s, it was only after the Millennium – with the world-wide web – that I realised FGM remains a massive disrupter of lives in many parts of the world, with perhaps some 140 million people alive today having endured it.

In the United States, continental Europe and the United Kingdom combined more than one million women are currently living with the consequences of FGM. (Of the half million resident in the USA, 2015 figures from the Population Reference Bureau show California as the most afflicted state, at around 57,000 survivors, with New York second at 48,500.)

Around 8,000 girls and women around the world will have undergone female genital mutilation* on any given day of the year.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (2015) and Female Mutilation (2016) are books in response to these chilling data, bringing together many facets of the harmful practice of FGM, so deeply embedded in diverse traditional communities around the world. The first book is therefore a primer-style monograph, and the second, Female Mutilation, is a series of personal accounts across five continents, individual narratives from many places which explore FGM as seen by those who endure it and those who seek in multiple ways to stop it happening.

My fundamental premise – for which I make no apology – is that FGM epitomises patriarchy incarnate. It is a truly grim crime against woman (and human) kind.

But FGM is often inflicted, sometimes on their own daughters, by women who themselves know the pain at first hand. How can this be, even in western diaspora communities where almost everyone knows FGM is illegal and carries serious penal sanctions? Why does FGM remain so persistent in modern times?

Such questions I try to address. My 2015 book outlines the history of FGM legislation across the globe and over the last century, alongside the epidemiology and a wider analysis of the (patriarchally led) socio-economics of this custom – it is not a ‘culture’- with examination of the legal, medical and educational contexts, often using UK illustrations. The 2016 book extends this, with narratives from individuals in many countries. Critically, in both books I also consider community aspects of eradication.

But this is not a simple ‘them and us’ situation. FGM as ‘clitoridectomy’ was conducted in western nations until the mid-twentieth century. Female genital cosmetic surgery, on minors especially (like juvenile male circumcision or infant surgical gender allocation), is a continuation of lucrative and / or socially pressured non-consensual ‘medical’ practice in another guise. The current extreme right obsession with female sexuality parallels FGM in regard to the treatment of girls and women as the chattels of (some) men. Trafficking and child and forced ‘marriage’ occur in many contexts. As ever, human rights are contested and universal concerns.

So these are deep and troubled waters. I do not believe, as some assert, that female genital mutilation will continue in the first world until it has been eradicated in traditionally practising nations. On the contrary, wealthy modern administrations have readily to hand the instruments of law, medicine, education, community and media reach which, with serious political determination, could quite rapidly assign FGM in western countries to history.

But I see little evidence that the required political will exists. In the UK measures are announced without conjunction and with pathetically tokenistic domestic financial support; in the USA, despite heroic individual efforts towards cessation, substantive national policy-led programmes are yet to emerge to any visible effect.

It is not important to agree with my particular analysis of the issues. What’s critical is that these matters are illuminated to spur the eradication of FGM.

I hope my books will be read and considered for what they are – a plea to move from horror to hope, to halt the atrocities of female genital mutilation wherever they occur.

~

[* The Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, which has a primary focus on FGM, is clear that in formal discourse any term other than ‘mutilation’ concedes damagingly to the cultural relativists – though the terms employed may of necessity vary in informal discussion with those who by tradition use alternative vocabulary. See the Feminist Statement on the Naming and Abolition of Female Genital Mutilation  and  The Bamako Declaration: Female Genital Mutilation Terminology.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Books by Hilary Burrage on female genital mutilation

For more detail and discussion of female genital mutilation please see my textbook, which considers in some detail the situation globally, but also explores the issues relating specifically to Western nations:  Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015). My second book, Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishers, 2016), contains narrative ‘stories’ (case studies) from about seventy people across five continents who have experienced FGM, either as survivors and/or as campaigners and activists against this harmful traditional practice.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Hilary Burrage, Ashgate / Routledge 2015).   Contents and reviews  here.

FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation  (Hilary Burrage, New Holland Publishers 2016).   Contents and reviews  here.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION AND ACTION

There is a free FGM hotline for anyone in the UK: 0800 028 3550, or email:fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

For more on FGM please see here.

The #NoFGM Daily News carries reports of all items shared on Twitter that day about FGM – brings many organisations and developments into focus.

Also available to follow is daily news from #NoFGM_USA Daily News.

Twitter  accounts:

@NoFGM_UK  @NoFGMBookUK @FemaleMutlnBook @FGMStatement  @NoFGM_USA  @NoFGM_Kenya@NoFGM_France  @GuardianEndFGM [tag for all: #NoFGM] and @StopMGM.

Facebook page: #NoFGM – a crime against humanity

More info on FGM in the UK here. Email contact: NoFGM email

PLEASE NOTE:

This article concerns approaches to the eradication specifically of FGM.  I am also categorically opposed to MGM, but that is not the focus of this particular piece.

Readers will find, nonetheless, a prolonged discussion in the Comments below on the wider issues of infant and juvenile genital mutilation.  Anyone wishing to offer additional comment on these more general considerations is asked please to do so on the relevant dedicated thread, originally developed in June 2012:

The Other FGM Debate: Is Male Circumcision (MGM) Also Child Abuse?

Pending further notice (of a planned new blog, sometime after February 2016), discussion of the general issues re M/FGM will not be published unless they are posted on this dedicated page.  Thanks.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2016 19:22

    2 great books on the topic we all want to see ended. Congratulations, Hilary on a great job with these 2 books. I highly recommend both books for educational reading!

    • February 2, 2016 20:42

      Thank you Angela, both for your help and, very much, for your kind encouragement! x

  2. February 7, 2016 14:28

    Hilary Burrage writes:
    FORGIVE ME if I preface this Comment (which I have nonetheless approved) with the observation that both of my books, and my blogs, at various points make it very clear I AGREE without reservation with David Balashinsky and other Intactivists that male genital mutilation (‘circumcision’) is also entirely unacceptable – and that my view is, amongst other considerations, for the very reasons cited here (see eg pp 7-8, 85-86, 162, 204 and 270 of my book, ‘Eradicating FGM’.)

    My only proviso is that different strategic considerations in regard to campaigns are required, not least because FGM is already illegal (whilst MGM could be argued to be legally acceptable as things stand), the community engagements may differ – especially in the USA where perversely many men persist in the practice – and because medical techniques and requirements for obs/gynae and male urology are obviously different too.

    It’s a great shame – and, to be honest, insulting – that many Intactivists choose, without asking or checking, to assume that people campaigning against FGM do not care about the plight of little boys and young men.

    I for one, along with colleagues such as Dr Tobe Levin, a Fellow at both Oxford and Harvard Universities who advises on FGM https://genitale-autonomie.de/videos-der-vortraege/levin/ (it’s in English), am strongly opposed to breaches of the human rights and physical safety of all children; and have said so many times.
    Hilary

    …………………………………..

    How about ending ALL genital mutilation: FGM and MGM. While 150 million [new figures suggest probably 200m, actually HB] girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, over 600 million boys and men worldwide have been subjected to MGM (male genital mutilation, also known as circumcision).

    The World Health Organization has defined female genital mutilation (FGM) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” It further classifies FGM into four major categories: 1)Clitoridectomy (partial or total removal of the clitoris) or the prepuce (which makes it identical to male circumcision); 2)Excision (partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora); 3)Infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening); and 4)Other (all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area). As will be seen from these descriptions, while FGM is often worse than male genital cutting in severity and damage, the term “FGM” also includes, by the WHO’s own definition and description of genital mutilation, procedures that are often identical to and in some cases less extreme and less damaging than that which occurs in infant or adolescent male circumcision. Hence, male circumcision, by these same criteria, is male genital mutilation. In contrast, the word “circumcision” is, I would argue, merely a euphemism that is intended to downplay the severity of the harm done to the child’s penis in this procedure. Indeed, that is precisely why supporters and apologists for FGM prefer the euphemism “female circumcision.” Not coincidentally, citing the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children “which has a primary focus on FGM,” Ms. Burrage writes that it “is clear that in formal discourse any term other than ‘mutilation’ concedes damagingly to the cultural relativists.” That holds precisely and equally in the case of male genital mutilation.

    A false contrast between FGM and MGM has been created and supported by the discourse surrounding these practices. The result has been to misrepresent FGM as something intentionally harmful to which girls and women are subjected by men in patriarchal societies while misrepresenting MGM as essentially unrelated to the control of male sexuality and essentially innocuous or even beneficial. All of these characterizations are false and misleading. In cultures that practice it, FGM is not performed as an act of “male control of female sexuality.” It is a practice performed by women themselves and overwhelmingly supported by women in these cultures. It is considered an essential rite of passage and indispensable to a young woman’s becoming marriageable. Beyond its social and ceremonial significance, FGM is performed because it is believed to be normal, beneficial, hygienic, and more aesthetically pleasing. These are exactly the same reasons that are offered as justifications for male genital mutilation in our own male-genital-cutting culture (I am referring to the United States, where the cultural norm of routine infant circumcision stands in stark contrast to the respect for bodily integrity that is now almost universally accepted by most other modern industrialized societies). In other words, FGM and MGM are both deeply ingrained cultural practices. Thus, the resistance to ending FGM by those cultures that practice it is identical to the resistance to ending MGM in those cultures that practice MGM, including our own

    Undoubtedly, the cultural bias, in which the harms and human-rights violation of infant and adolescent male circumcision are completely discounted, accounts in part for the apparent reluctance by some within the anti-FGM movement to recognize the fact that it and the anti-MGM movement are essentially one. But both movements rest on the same ethical and philosophical foundation: the right of every individual to control her or his own body. Beyond this, there appears to be a notion among some within the anti-FGM movement that the movement to end FGM risks becoming trivialized or diluted by making common cause with the anti-MGM (or “Intactivist”) movement. The thinking seems to be that because FGM is so much worse, MGM can’t be all that bad. Or perhaps there is an unwarranted apprehension by some within the movement to end FGM that the true horrors of FGM can only adequately be characterized by distinguishing it from MGM. But, even allowing for the fact that FGM is frequently more harmful than MGM, that is like reasoning that it’s okay to cut off a boy’s hand simply because cutting off a girl’s arm is so much worse. Both are wrong and it is counterproductive and frivolous for either cause to view this as a contest. There is one substantial difference, however, between the organized anti-FGM movement and the organized anti-MGM movement. Those of us who oppose the genital mutilation of boys oppose the genital mutilation of girls no less fervently. In contrast, the organized anti-FGM movement has been largely silent on the subject of medically unnecessary, non-consensual infant circumcision, as well as the ceremonial ritual circumcision of adolescents in Africa which kills dozens of boys (from sepsis and hemorrhaging) annually. It is a disheartening truth that the failure of many within the anti-FGM movement to embrace the same rights for males (and intersex infants) to be free of genital cutting constitutes a morally inconsistent double standard.

    There is no right more basic nor more important than the right to own and control one’s own body. Forced infant circumcision, just like FGM, violates that right. Any nonessential, cosmetic, or ritual genital modification constitutes a human-rights violation. The campaign to end involuntary circumcision, like its sister campaign to end FGM, is based on the simple idea that each individual, regardless of sex, has an inherent right to own and control his or her own body. To those who would dismiss the importance of extending the right of genital integrity to males and intersex infants, I would counter that the right of bodily self-determination – the right to have one’s body left intact – is a human right. All human beings, regardless of sex, religion, ethnicity, nationality, and age, deserve the right to own and control thier own bodies, and that must include the right not to have their genitals surgically altered without their consent. That right is not diminished, nor is the campaign to win universal recognition and respect for that right diluted, by extending it to males or intersex infants. On the contrary: it is strengthened precisely because of its universality. A morally consistent principle is always more powerful than one that has a gigantic exception (pertaining to about 50% of the population) carved out of it. Hence, the campaign to end FGM can only be strengthened by the campaign to end MGM and vice versa because both are grounded in the more fundamental human right of bodily integrity.

    I salute Ms. Burrage for her efforts to end FGM and I congratulate her on her contributions to this cause. However, I believe that it is high time that those who are working to end FGM make common cause with those of us who are working just as diligently to end MGM. Being free from genital cutting is a HUMAN right. I would like to suggest, therefore, a different paradigm: one that recognizes the basic human right of genital integrity; one that recognizes the right not only of girls and women but of boys, men, and intersex infants and children to grow up with their genitals intact, as nature created them. The egregious harms caused by FGM are in no way minimized by acknowledging the harms caused by MGM. Instead of perpetuating a discourse, therefore, that implicitly or explicitly juxtaposes FGM and MGM as though they are somehow in competition for the limited space in the public’s collective consciousness and conscience, I urge Ms. Burrage to embrace the universal principle that all genital mutilation – all non-therapeutic genital cutting of either sex – is harmful and constitutes a human rights violation.

    • February 7, 2016 21:29

      Just to add – since I have held the same view as David Balashinsky (see above; and for much the same reasons, except that I offer a more serious analysis of economic patriarchy) for some long while – that there is a Twitter account which I set up a year or two ago, to make the case against both FGM and MGM: @StopMGM. I have said repeatedly that I will (and do) add my small weight to any NoMGM movement if invited.

  3. February 7, 2016 21:32

    Unfortunately, several corrections that I had made to my post do not appear in the version that appears above so I want to state for the record that I both acknowledge and appreciate your objection to MGM. Further, I accept, humbly and (mostly) without qualification, your criticism that my post unfairly mischaracterizes your position. My comment went through several revisions which substantially differed from this in the one crucial respect that my comment above unfairly mischaracterizes your position whereas the final versions, I believe, did not. However, I acknowledge that when I wrote I was being rash and intemperate and for this I apologize. By way of explanation, what happened is that after dashing off that comment, I hit “post,” and then nothing happened. I then re-read your blog above, then made some important changes to my comment in order to reflect my deeper appreciation of your position, and then again hit “post,” and still my comment did not appear. At that point I gave up. I was actually a bit relieved that my comment, for whatever reason, did not appear, at least not in its original incarnation. I was not a little surprised, therefore, to see a notification in my email inbox just now that I had subscribed to your blog and even more surprised to see that my first, rash and unedited version of this comment had been posted. Naturally, I was dismayed not only because the comment is indeed unfair to you but because it does not reflect well on me by virtue of the intellectual sloppiness on my part.

    As for your preface to my post in which you write, “It’s a great shame – and, to be honest, insulting – that many Intactivists choose, without asking or checking, to assume that people campaigning against FGM do not care about the plight of little boys and young men,” to the extent that that is the case, I would agree with you. I am embarrassed to have made myself appear to be in that camp, particularly because I have attempted, in my writing, to counter the unfortunate and perverse strand of anti-feminist and “MRA” thought that runs through the Intactivist movement. There is also a perverse tendency of some Intactivists to scapegoat women for MGM (although, to be fair, you indulge in a bit of scapegoating yourself when you write “especially in the USA where perversely many men persist in the practice,” as though it is only or primarily men who perpetuate it). In any case, I have been attempting to combat these tendencies in the Intactivist movement, not only because I disagree with this anti-feminist philosophy but because I believe that such attitudes and scapegoating ultimately bring discredit upon the intactivist movement. (See my blog post, “Intactivism and Feminism” for a discussion of this issue. http://dbalablog.blogspot.com/2015/12/intactivism-and-feminism.html)

    Now, having said all that, it has not been my experience with the FGM-eradication movement that the people campaigning against FGM are even remotely concerned with MGM and the right to genital integrity of males. On the contrary, a number of these organizations seem to go out of their way to conceptually differentiate MGM from FGM, and it was undoubtedly my exposure to this ubiquitous attitude (and my taking great exception to it) that led to my prejudiced and unfortunate mischaracterization of you as being among those who entertain it. But consider, for example, the organization “Equality Now” which publishes a “fact sheet” in which this organization explicitly states that there is no comparison between FGM and male circumcision. The misnamed “fact sheet” states, and I quote, “While male circumcision is the removal of foreskin and DOES NOT AFFECT THE MALE SEX ORGAN ITSELF [my emphasis], FGM damages the sex organs, inhibiting pleasure and causing severe pain and complications for women’s sexual and reproductive health.” It goes on to state that “the harmful health implications of FGM cannot be compared with that of male circumcision.” These statements are not only patently false insofar as they negate the primary erogenous role in intercourse of the foreskin but they are specifically intended to minimize the harms and human rights violation of male genital cutting. What is most alarming to advocates of genital rights for both sexes, such as myself, is that the discourse in which FGM is presented as evil incarnate and MGM as innocuous and even beneficial has so thoroughly shaped public opinion that this is the prevailing attitude against which Intactivists such as myself find that we are up against. In other words, as commendable as the anti-FGM movement has been, its success has consciously been achieved – so it would appear, at any rate – by its advocates at the expense of the rights of males to the same legal and moral right to keep their genitals intact. Thus, in virtually every discussion comparing or contrasting FGM with MGM in which I have ever participated, it is absolutely common for exclusively FGM opponents to dismiss any and all comparisons to MGM as being not only meritless but preposterous. Consequently, the inevitable conclusion of such an argument is that any claims on behalf of the right of male infants and boys to be free from needless and harmful genital surgery are equally meritless and preposterous.

    This attitude, understandably, fosters resentment among male intactivists, and I wonder whether that is not at least in part to blame for the knee-jerk reaction of some intactivists to assume – wrongly, in some cases, certainly in yours, as I now acknowledge – that anti-FGM advocates do not after all care much about the plight of boys and men who are subjected to genital mutilation.

    From a moral standpoint, opponents of MGM have no less an ethical obligation to oppose FGM than the other way around. But there is one fundamental difference between these two as-yet separate and unnaturally separate movements. And this is that the organized FGM-eradication movement has the power and prestige of the United Nations and numerous national and state governments behind its efforts. FGM is not only banned by federal statue here in the United States but additionally by numerous state statutes (twenty-three, according to Equality Now). In contrast, MGM remains legal nationwide and worldwide, while an arm of the United Nations actively promotes MGM in the foolish and mistaken belief that circumcision will aid efforts to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. Thus, international and national movements to eradicate FGM are well ahead of the movement to end MGM. I believe that, for that reason, the organized anti-FGM movement has an ethical obligation to use its position of influence on behalf of male victims of genital mutilation. The FGM-eradication movement would lose nothing by doing so.

    I do not question your underlying thesis that “FGM epitomizes patriarchy incarnate.” Notwithstanding that fundamental truth, the fact remains that, while in most areas and throughout most of the world, women still do not enjoy parity with men, in this one area – in the organized efforts to end genital cutting – those efforts that have been made on behalf of girls and women enjoy much more state- and institutional support than comparable efforts on behalf of boys and men. So it is not only the lack of moral consistency by FGM opponents that disturbs me but the disproportionate amount of official condemnation, legal proscription, and moral outrage that are leveled against FGM while the no less valid claims of infant and adolescent boys and men to the same right to genital autonomy go unheeded.

    Referring back to your valid criticism of my original comment: “that many Intactivists choose, without asking or checking, to assume that people campaigning against FGM do not care about the plight of little boys and young men.” If that assumption is wrong, then I am happy to be wrong. But the overwhelming chorus of advocacy for genital rights for girls and women but not for boys and men coming from the anti-FGM forces certainly has given me the impression that champions of human rights, including genital rights for both sexes and intersex infants, such as you, are the exception, rather than the rule.

    Imagine if every outspoken critic of FGM were equally outspoken in opposition to MGM. Imagine if every legislator who introduced or supported legislation intended to ban or curb the practice of FGM included language banning and discouraging MGM in the same bills. How many fewer victims of MGM would there now be? And how much greater moral credibility would the FGM-eradication movement have acquired? I still maintain – as I attempted to argue above, and as I hope was not lost in my sloppiness in unfairly mischaracterizing your position – that if anti-FGM activists and Intactivists would but make common cause together, we could, together, that much more quickly and that much more decisively, bring about an end to the genital cutting of both sexes once and for all.

    • February 7, 2016 22:06

      Thank you for your additional comment, David. If it offers any assurance I recently attended a lecture, at a very important institution, about HIV and the use of MGM. My first act afterwards was to locate the lecturer and tell him that, even assays of HIV/MGM results aside, the promotion of MGM was actively holding back the NoFGM campaigns – Why, traditional practitioners ask, do you let the men do it, but not the women? The man who’d given the lecture looked really startled and upset….

      So, not only is the whole basis of the MGM/HIV project in question (see as rationale my comments above, still valid I think, about the enthusiasm, apparently regardless of dubious scientific validation, for MGM of eg a lot of American men, some of them doubtless powerful and wealthy) but it has the double downside of putting women and also their new born infants of both sexes at greater risk, because HIV/MGM ‘promotes’ FGM and so the obstetric problems which then arise. It’s a no-no, however you look at it.

      That all said, however, you will note that the Intactivist intervention here has turned a discussion about eradicating FGM – and yes, different campaigners do have different views on ‘circumcision’, mostly because often as midwives they see women in agony and grave danger during childbirth, so they focus on FGM – to a discussion yet again about men.

      Like you, I would like to care for and protect every child; but there are many, many different ways in which we can apply personal experience and professional experience to that end. We all have different things to offer, but I think you’d agree that sometimes that diversity of approaches is not respected.

      Good luck

  4. February 8, 2016 22:55

    PLEASE NOTE: I do not intend to publish any more Intactivist comments on this (or any other current) post/s, other than the dedicated post below*. Constructive discussion of the topic here to hand – approaches to the eradication specifically of FGM – will of course continue to be welcome.

    I have already stated categorically that I am opposed to all infant and juvenile genital mutilation, regardless of considerations of gender. There is no need here for others to labour this point.

    I will post another blog, on the subject of genital mutilation generally, and on the different approaches to eradication which may be required in different contexts, when the opportunity arises.

    * Any reader wishing to comment further on the wider issues around M/FGM is asked please to do so on the relevant dedicated thread, originally posted in June 2012:

    The Other FGM Debate: Is Male Circumcision (MGM) Also Child Abuse?

  5. February 9, 2016 04:36

    Posted or not, I’d like to add that I appreciated very much the helpful and informative dialogue between Hilary Burrage and David Balashinsky. I wholeheartedly agree that all genital cutting of children needs to stop. Beyond that, those who agree and wish to expand their activism may wish to also look at many, many other forms of child abuse that, once ended, will make our world a much better place for all of us, not just children.

  6. February 9, 2016 07:58

    Thank you Richard. You will be pleased to know that – as indeed a search of this site would demonstrate – my entire approach to FGM is set within wider concerns about child abuse in general; indeed, I believe that doing so is essential. The point must be made without reservation that FGM is ‘just another’ example of grim child abuse. That understanding is critical and will also make it much easier to stop.

    The back cover blurb of my ‘Eradicating FGM’ book says, as the very first paragraph:

    This ground-breaking book details the present situation with regard to female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain, referring also to other Western nations where FGM occurs. It scrutinises current pathways to eradicating this dangerous, sometimes lethal, form of child abuse and gender-related violence.

  7. February 12, 2016 22:35

    Just one comment. Campaign Against Juvenile Genital Cutting. I had assumed the whole nasty procedure had died out, until I got on the Internet about 1996. I am a victim of the ignorance of the 1940s.

    • February 12, 2016 23:06

      Yes, I was assured that the 1980s legislation to stop FGM had removed that risk as well… and like you, I knew nothing more about any of it (though I sometimes asked) until I read about the International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day – see my blog above.
      I recently spoke to someone, a well educated and progressive man, in the USA who still thought FGM doesn’t happen there.
      Breaking the silence (both women and men) will break the customs.

  8. November 22, 2016 07:40

    Kudos, Hilary, for this clear presentation of both books.

    • November 22, 2016 13:35

      Thank you Tobe, I really appreciate this, especially coming from such an ‘FGM book expert’ as yourself!

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