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Hilary Burrage's website comprises mostly her sociological papers and articles about patriarchy, (gendered) harmful practices and, specifically, female genital mutilation / FGM.

To select particular topics in any area please go to the Word Cloud below on your right.
(Or just scroll down here for recent posts....)

Hilary is the author of two books on her chosen themes:

15.07.14 FGM Book1 jacket jpegEradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015) is a book about pathways to eradicating FGM in the UK and around the world, and a detailed handbook-textbook which covers global and historic/political issues from a socio-economic as well as educational, legal and medical aspects.
There is an accompanying website for updates and a Twitter account [book available from the publisher; or from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com (inc. e-format) and high street booksellers].

16.01.22 Female Mutilation book pic (3)Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishers, 2016) comprises 70+ ‘narratives’ from survivors, family and community members, activists and professionals in two dozen countries, five continents, also with an accompanying website to bring all the contributors together, and a Twitter handle [book available from the Guardian bookshop; or from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com, or high street booksellers].

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation was launched on 4 November 2015 at The Guardian offices in London (introductory talk here) and both books were presented at a reception hosted by the Norwegian Embassy for the Inter-African Committee FGM Conference at the United Nations in Geneva, on 10 May 2016.

REVIEWS of ERADICATING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION:
>Hilary Burrage has written the most definitive book ever on FGM. An invaluable tool to help eradicate it worldwide. A personal triumph. (The Guardian)
> Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation provides an insightful and thorough discussion of the problems facing women in the UK who have encountered female genital mutilation (FGM), and is an excellent book. The book is divided into 12 chapters covering demography, perceptions and beliefs, power, clinical issues including mandatory reporting, legislation and governance, prevention and politics. The book is fully referenced throughout. … . This is a book that makes one consider the issues surrounding FGM and the challenges facing health professionals. [It] is an interesting and very readable book, which provides background and insight, and which would be suitable for anyone interested in this topic, health professionals working within sexual health, and anyone involved in teaching this topical and emotive subject. (Su Everett, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health)
>… Outraged at ineffective child protection, Burrage provides a comprehensive, scholarly yet accessible guide – the first ethically correct textbook in the world about FGM and among the best ever – to professionals and all people of conscience. (Tobe Levin von Gleichen, Harvard and Oxford Universities)
>…. The book provides many references, a website to work with on enhancing the reader’s knowledge, and a list of organisations working on this issue… [and] provides social workers, as well as social policy makers, researchers and activists, with a wide comparative canvass, facts, and an honest discussion of the likelihood of eradication of FGM in the near future, demonstrating the author’s understanding and analysis of the considerable obstacles needed to be confronted, if we are to achieve this very necessary objective. (Shulamit Ramon, International Federation of Social Workers)
>The best book ever written about the sensitive subject of FGM : Amazon.com ***** (Sayydah Garrett, Pastoralist Child Foundation
>Essential insights on female genital mutilation … Sociologist Hilary Burrage’s intention is “to start a wider conversation about FGM and the challenges it produces” and in this book she succeeds admirably… FGM is a “deeply disturbing form of child abuse” with detrimental life-changing consequences that need to be tackled in a manner that is as vigorous as it is cognisant of its social and cultural complexity. Burrage, who adheres to a feminist understanding of FGM, proposes a no-nonsense 15-point plan that ranges from closing existing legal loopholes to mandatory reporting of cases, from tackling terminology to remedying the present haphazard child-protection provision… Engagingly written and packed with information, this book is a must-read. (Michal Boncza, Morning Star)
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REVIEWS of FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation:
> This is the essential companion volume to Hilary Burrage's 'Eradicating Female Mutilation'. While the latter provides a broad and deep perspective on the practice of FGM, this book gives space for the voices of victims and practitioners in the field. The author is to be commended for bringing together such a wide range of personal narratives... to consign a vile abuse of women to the dustbin of history. You will not fail to be engaged... by these accounts, even though some are harrowing. "Female Mutilation' is a landmark contribution to the literature on FGM.: Amazon ***** (Ron Stewart and another reader)

Hilary Burrage is also the author of many other papers, policy submissions, posts, reviews and chapters on FGM, including a Chapter on ‘Female Genital Mutilation and Genital Surgeries’ in the Routledge International Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health, edited by Jane M. Ussher, Joan C. Chrisler and Janette Perz (published October 2019)

Hilary is a consultant sociologist and writer (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6684-2740). This is her professional website, to share thoughts on sociological analysis, social policy and good practice, especially in relation to female genital mutilation (FGM), child abuse, gendered violence and patriarchy. Hilary lives in London.

Bullet Hole: A Play About What Female Genital Mutilation [FGM] Can Do To Your Mind

October 12, 2018

Art and performance are powerful ways to convey messages on difficult topics.  Bullet Hole, a play by Gloria Williams about the circumstances in which three different London-based women who have had FGM find themselves, is a welcome addition to this genre. The play leaves no-one in any doubt that FGM has long-lasting and cruel outcomes, both physically and psychologically; but the message is also that with support women can move on.  The question is, how often is such support available? And what are we doing anyway, to stop FGM?

Bullet Hole, presented by Naiad Productions, is showing from 2 – 27 October 2018, at the Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London.  The director is Lara Genovese, and the cast are Gloria Williams, Doreene Blackstock  and Anni Domingo.

After the performance on Wednesday 10 October a number of us joined the audience for a panel discussion:

Read more…

In The Name Of Your Daughter (An #EndFGM Film About Safe Houses)

October 6, 2018

The Raindance Film Festival is an important event in the London arts diary.  Yesterday (5 October 2018) we saw one of this year’s featured films: In The Name Of Your Daughter, a documentary about saving young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) via a ‘safe house’, a place to which likely victims of this crime can flee, or are taken, for protection during the ‘cutting season’. Especially important here is how trust and understanding about FGM must be established to rebuild connection between these girls and their families and communities. Be sure to see it.

Read more…

Special £5 Offer On Hilary Burrage’s ‘FEMALE MUTILATION’ Book

June 1, 2018

New Holland Publishers have agreed a Special Offer on my book, FEMALE MUTILATION: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation.
The book has over 70 personal contributions from survivors and #EndFGM campaigners in 24 countries across 5 continents, and has been honoured with a Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Award. It demonstrates very clearly that FGM beliefs and practices vary hugely around the globe, but always the underlying theme is patriarchy incarnate.  You can review selected content   here.

Further information about the book and its many distinguished contributors, and reviews of Female Mutilation, can be read in this post.

The special offer price – available to individuals, organisations and book sellers – is £5.00 inc. P&P in the UK or Europe, and £9.00 inc. P&P for the rest of the world. (Large orders may be negotiated re Postage & Packing etc.)

To obtain copies call the distributors (GBS) on UK: 044 [0]1206 255777 or contact them by email via CashSales@tbs-ltd.co.uk

@FemaleMutlnBook                                                                  Female Mutilation Worldwide website (details of contributor contacts etc)

Read more…

The Many ‘E’s Of FGM Eradication – And Why They All Lead Via ‘Economics’ And ‘Epidemics’ To Public Health

April 24, 2018

I was pleased to be invited to speak at the second University of Salford ONECPD Conference on Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.  I originally intended my presentation to be on The 4Es of Eradication but further events and consideration suggest there are at least 7 Es….  and that they all point the same way:  The largely missing element in current eradication strategies is Public Health.
In this post I explain why I see that discipline or framework as critically important if we are to eradicate FGM forever.

The fundamental question for those who seek FGM eradication is not, ‘How long will it take?’, but rather, ‘What resources and leadership are required, finally to make FGM history?’

Read more…

Female Genital Mutilation Destroys Lives And Communities

April 6, 2018

The University of Salford is where, in 1973, I gained my M.Sc. degree in the Sociology of Science and Technology. I was therefore pleased to be asked to return at last, this time as a speaker at a ONECPD Conference on Tuesday 24 April 2018, on Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).   The topic I will address is The 4 Es of FGM Eradication – Engagement, Education, Enforcement and Economics.
I was also invited to write a blog on our Zero Tolerance for FGM theme for the ONECPD website. Here it is:
Read more…

Female Genital Mutilation: Money – Inadequate Funding, Vested Interests, MDG and GDP

March 9, 2018

Friday 8 March 2018 saw another EndFGM seminar led by Dr Tobe Levin and hosted by Dr Maria Jaschok of the International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. The event was attended by academics (two from the USA), doctors, lawyers and activists. I contributed by leading an interactive session on the many economic aspects – still so often overlooked – of female genital mutilation and its eradication. My briefing paper (drawing on the event concept note Tobe Levin had prepared) follows below, with a visual record of our discussions:

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Dare2Care – A New Website About Child Protection By Sarah Champion MP

February 27, 2018

It was an indication of their commitment that, despite the snow storms, dozens of activists joined Sarah Champion MP in her Westminster office for the launch today (Tuesday 27 February) of  Dare2Care, an online resource which focuses on the prevention of child abuse in the UK.
Sarah is the MP for Rotherham, a constituency which has seen multiple and very severe instances of grooming and other child abuse. Learning about these crimes must surely have been one of the reasons why she is so determined to help stop harm to children.

Read more…

Economics Is Why FGM Persists (Oxford Seminar On The Elephants In The Room)

November 23, 2017

17 November 2017: A workshop entitled Elephants in the Room: Hurdles – and Hope – for Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) challenged us to consider some ‘elephants in the room’ in how we think about that particular form of gendered physical and psychological abuse.  The event, co-sponsored by the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and the UnCUT/VOICES Press, enabled those present to share thoughts on aspects of FGM which may be both blatantly obvious and difficult to discuss. My contribution, summarised below, was on the Economics of FGM.

The ‘four Es’ of Eradicating FGM are Engagement, Education, Enforcement and Economics.

But perhaps there is also a fifth ‘E’ – because in the context of this seminar Economics is the Elephant in the room….

Read more…

Three Days With Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, Washington DC, October 2017: Walk-A-Thon to #EndFGM

October 22, 2017

What an experience this visit to Washington DC turned out to be! Angela Peabody, the Founder-Director of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, made us all so warmly welcome as we met again friends and colleagues from different parts of the world, and discussed various issues with some of the leading medical and legal female genital mutilation (FGM) experts in the USA. And we saw the 2017 GWPF nominees receive their awards for outstanding service to end that cruel and harmful traditional practice.

My (post-event) thoughts on what we discussed follow, with a focus on

*Medical ‘vs’ legal understandings
*Male ‘vs’ female circumcision (MGM and FGM) and human rights / bodily integrity
*Patriarchy incarnate, eg FGM and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM)
*Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
*Data on FGM prevalence
*Surgical and other treatment and support for FGM survivors
*’Market segmentation’ to maximise the impact of #EndFGM programmes.

Read more…

Letter To The Guardian On FGM And Girls’ Education

October 7, 2017

I was pleased to have a letter published today in the main Guardian, and yesterday in Society Guardian, in response to an article of 4 October.
The original piece, supported by Opportunity International UK and entitled ‘Educating girls: the key to tackling poverty‘, was a report on a Guardian Roundtable discussion which considered several obstacles to girls’ education including taboos around menstruation and child marriage, but did not mention FGM.
Here is what I wrote:

Read more…

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Awardees 2015-2017

September 1, 2017

The 2017 Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) Walk-A-Thon to End FGM is in Washington DC on Saturday 21 October.  (Register here.) In 2016 I was thrilled to be made an GWPF Awardee, and in 2017 perhaps more delighted still by an invitation to join the newly established on-going GWPF Awards Committee.  It was incredibly difficult to select our nominations in each of the awarding categories, but listed below are those eventually named for 2017, along with the names of 2015 and 2016 Awardees.

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Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Requires Support For Community Activists

July 18, 2017

Today I published a piece in the Huffington Post entitled The ‘Cuts’ And ‘Cutting’ – And So Female Genital Mutilation Continues In The UK.  The eradication of FGM is critically dependent not only on the skills and leverage of the leading organisations in the field, but also on the goodwill and support of activists in their communities.  Often these activists report that their work is not resourced and that they are therefore unable to deliver the #EndFGM message as they would wish – a matter of especial importance when ‘vacation cutting’ is about to start.

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FGM (Khatna / Khafz) Persists In Bohra India – UK Politicians Can Help To Stop It

June 28, 2017

The practice of female genital mutilation in India remains little known – not least because the Bohra community which continues with it insists on silence about what they call ‘Khatna’ (male or female ‘circumcision’) or ‘Khafz’ (explicitly the female version). But slowly this harmful traditional practice, like early ‘marriage’ in wider Indian society, is being exposed; and now some outspoken Bohra women want the international community to support their #EndFGM demands.
British politicians can add considerable weight to this campaign.

Read more…

Brussels Places Research On Female Genital Mutilation Centre-Stage

June 10, 2017

The 2nd International Academic Seminar on FGM was an excellent opportunity to exchange information, meet new colleagues and consolidate old friendships.  For these reasons alone attendance was well worthwhile, but for me this two day meeting on 8 and 9 June 2017 also prompted afreshsome considerations around the fundamentals of the challenge to #EndFGM.   And so I share below some notes on the FGM knowledge gaps and praxis issues with which I think we are all confronted.  Your thoughts on my provisional analysis will be warmly welcomed.

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Thinking About Ethics In Tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

May 19, 2017

017 (2)It was good to be invited today to attend a session of the RinGs (Research in Gender and Ethics: Building stronger health systems) meeting at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.  The topic addressed by a diverse panel of experts was Gender and Ethics in Health System Research Policy and Practice.  Discussion across a broad spectrum of experience and perspectives set me thinking more deeply about what ‘being ethical’ means in the context of action and research to end female genital mutilation.  But I certainly don’t have all the answers….

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Talking About FGM: The Welsh Obstetrics And Gynaecology Society Meeting

March 31, 2017

My invitation to speak at the Welsh Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society Meeting in Llandudno today was impetus enough to look again at issues around female genital mutilation (FGM) specifically from the perspectives of clinical medicine.  I prepared a one-sheet briefing for those attending. The notes below are an annotated version of the thoughts I shared – ending as ever with a plea for more direct engagement by Public Health and the School Medical Service in support of those clinicians (eg Obs/Gynaes) on the frontline of efforts to end this epidemic of ‘traditional’ criminal harm.

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Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishers, March 2016)

March 1, 2017

Just one year ago today my second book on female genital mutilation (FGM) was published. Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation offers more than 70 case studies from people in two dozen countries across five continents. Some narrators are FGM survivors, some community activists, and some professionals who bring a particular focus on FGM to their work in medicine, law, education, journalism etc. Their stories differ widely, but all share a determination to make FGM history.

Details of the book and a number of reader reviews follow below:

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USA Perspectives And Terminologies Re: Female And Male Genital ‘Mutilation’, ‘Circumcision’ Or ‘Cutting’? Anthr/apology Avoids Difficult Issues

February 17, 2017

cuttingA question posted on Quora asks: Why does the USA call female circumcision ‘female genital mutilation’ when male circumcision is widespread in the country? Implicit here are also I think a number of other enquiries:  are FGM and MGM (male genital mutilation / circumcision) ‘the same’?  Is MGM acceptable because it’s still relatively widespread in the USA?  And maybe also, what is the correct terminology for these harmful traditional practices? In my view both FGM and MGM are human rights issues which must be confronted and stopped.

Read more…

The ‘Cutting Season’: To End FGM (And Other Violence Against Women) We Need The Men On-Side

December 29, 2016

STOP FGMIt’s obvious that ending violence against women and girls requires the involvement of us all, men and women alike.
This is a piece on the subject which I’ve just published in Huffington Post, reminding readers that December has seen both the annual #16Days global initiative against gendered violence and, tragically, also in some parts of the world the end-of-year female genital mutilation (FGM) ‘cutting season’.
Many men, like the torchbearers mentioned below, are already committed to making this harm history, but there’s still a way to go…

Read more…

First U.S. FGM Summit, Washington DC, December 1st and 2nd, 2016

December 2, 2016

img_2703-4The FGM Summit in Washington DC was held over the first two days of December 2016, providing for the first time in the USA an opportunity for leading activists and strategists against female genital mutilation from across the world to meet and consider both progress and remaining challenges. I was pleased to be amongst those attending.  Good practice was interrogated and friendships and collaborations consolidated, as we pondered both the commonalities which FGM presents, and the very different ways in which, variously, eradication is approached.

Read more…

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