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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow Backs Campaign to Protect Girls and Women

Published 7/2/17

Campaigners in Glasgow have raised awareness of a horrific illegal practice causing women physical and mental agony.

The city's Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, welcomed guests to an event to mark the International Day for Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at Glasgow City Chambers and met campaigners fighting to make girls and women aware of their rights.

According to the World Health Organisation, FGM includes "the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." It has been illegal in the UK since 1985, but campaigners say the practice is "normalised" in some ethnic minority communities.

Together for Better Life (TFB) is a charity established by migrants from Africa and the Middle East to improve life for co-migrants.

Jamila Hassan of the organisation was one of the speakers at the Glasgow event which was part of a global day of action.

She said: "We are highly concerned about FGM, because it is irreversible everlasting damage.

"We know what FGM means for the practicing communities, and how women suffer its consequences. It has not only physical and mental health problems, but furthermore social problems. The horrific social, physical and mental health effects of FGM are so normalised in practicing communities that they are rarely recognised or understood.

"Combating FGM is challenging because it is normalised in the communities who believe that FGM is an unavoidable part of their culture and a guarantee of their daughters' marriages. It is important to raise women's awareness of the negative impact of FGM on relationships and health, and to correct the misconception that FGM is a duty. Similarly, it is important to raise their awareness of related law and human rights as well as gender identity and gender relations."

Other organisations which attended the event included FGM Aware; the Kenyan Women in Scotland Association; the Ruby Project, Rape Crisis Scotland; Community InfoSource; My Voice and Saheliya.

The Lord Provost praised efforts to protect girls and women at the event organised by Glasgow's Violence Against Women Partnership.

She said: "This is a difficult and complex subject and I fully endorse any measures that raise awareness of this illegal and cruel procedure. FGM is dangerous, unnecessary and harmful. It is a practice that can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. We can raise awareness by holding events like this and educating men and women to end this ritual.

"I was proud to host a round table conference on this subject in 2015 to mark International Women's Day. I share your resolve to end this unnecessary violence against girls and women."

Published 7/2/17

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