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16-Year-Old Girl Shares Fears About Being Taken To Somalia For FGM In Heartbreaking Reddit Post

04/08/2015 15:34 BST | Updated 04/08/2015 15:59 BST
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Girl working on a laptop computer

A concerned 16-year-old has taken to Reddit to share her concerns over a planned family trip to Somalia.

The heartbreaking post explains that her father will be taking her and her siblings on a trip to experience their native heritage, but the anonymous poster is concerned about her safety in a country that is "currently in a civil war with a terror group calling the shots."

User Throwawayyyyy1738 wrote: "Long story short, in 10 days my dad will be taking my sis and brothers to a country in Africa where 98% of women have suffered from FGM. As a 16 year old who doesn't want their vagina mutilated, I'm sooooooo effing scared."

"My mom had it done and I wouldn't be surprised if she ok'd this. My only shining light is that both my parents work in health care so i'm hoping that they see the negatives in doing this.

"I haven't asked my parents about this and I'm not sure how to go about it. I don't want them to be offended of me asking if they are against it, but I also don't want to find out if it is in their plans because I don't know what I would do."

Hundreds of Reddit users rallied together to offer the teen advice, with one sharing her experience of travelling to Somalia for FGM, but managing to avoid it after her parents disagreed on the issue.

Others shared tips and advice for how to get authorities involved without rousing her parents' suspicions.

The poster returned to the Reddit thread to update users, confirming that her parents are "super religious" followers of Islam, but further elaborated upon the reasons for her concern.

She wrote: "If my parents want something to be done, they would stop at nothing and the law wouldn't deter them. I'm sure they love me, but Somalis have been brainwashed to think that FGM makes a girl pure for her husband. It's sick, but it's the culture."

The worried teen also returned to the thread to say she'd spoken to her mother, but still had concerns about the trip.

"She told me that we have never visited their home and that my dad so desperately wants to visit relatives he hasn't seen in years. I then casually brought up the fact that many of our relatives support FGM and I asked whether she feared one of my aunts would have me get it done.

"She started to say that no woman has the right to do anything to me without their consent and that my dad would never allow it to happen. I pushed on this and asked why and the truth came out. When my mom got it when she was young, her vagina became infected and she only had isopropyl alcohol and anaesthesia.

"She explained that her case was more severe, but she has no ill-will towards her mother for making her do it because of how the culture is. I finally asked her why she said it's wasn't a big deal when it came on the news and she said she didn't mean that FGM is not a big deal, but the news is making it a bigger deal than it seems.

"She explained that nowadays it only happens in the rural parts of Somalia and so she figured the news was sensationalising it."

The teenager hasn't returned to the thread with an update since.

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In the UK, it is estimated that 23,000 girls under 15 could be at risk of FGM according to the NSPCC. Since June 2013, they have received over 700 contacts about FGM.

Plan, a charity whose 'Because I am a Girl' campaign is committed to ended FHM by 2030, reported that more than 130 million girls and woman alive today have undergone FGM.

Their chief executive, Tanya Barron, said: ""The growing realisation of the scale of FGM in the UK is a reminder of the need to ensure that we continue to work hard at every level to tackle the problem.

"But in doing so, we must remember that FGM is not exclusively a UK problem. It is a global problem – and it needs a global solution. The complex causes of a practice like this are not specific to this country, and so we simply won't end FGM in the UK without it ending across the world."

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