Medical school is of course the traditional route for providing prospective doctors with the core knowledge and tools for the practice ahead. By not including FGM as a part of this process, information of even the basic nature of FGM is not being disseminated across the profession. A condition that affects over 130,000 women across the UK should be known to students who can also come into contact with patients that have undergone FGM or at risk of the act.
Today is a vital date for London not least because in the UK an estimated 103,000 women have undergone FGM and 20,000 girls are at risk... We must seize the opportunity to empower millions of women and girls around the world. For a long time international development has been seen as something 'we' do to the rest of the world. That is an outdated worldview which must be broken down.
There is something undeniably wrong with people who feel that they're not feminists but they believe in women's rights. Or they're not feminists but they believe in the strength of women. Or they're not feminists but they believe that women shouldn't be treated like crap by men. Or they're not feminists but they want to feel like their voice matters.
Was it to do with the control of women's and girls' bodies? Was it an older generation demonstrating that they had the ability to show authority, to violate their young? Was it about traumatised women visiting the same pain on girls, using custom as an excuse, in some subconsciously re-enacted cycle of abuse?
The basic human rights of children must always over-ride the 'cultural' sensitivities of adults. Until nations everywhere perceive FGM not as a custom, but rather as an epidemic which must be addressed by governments as well as community workers, it will continue to blight the lives of millions. Whole communities over generations suffer because of it.
"I wanted to save lives not put them at risk." That's what a former female genital cutter told me during a visit to Kenya this week, as she explained why she downed her tools and instead became a birth attendant. I believe this woman should be celebrated for taking such a brave stance against the centuries-old tradition of female genital mutilation. And she's not alone.
More than 70 women and girls in the UK are seeking treatment every month for problems linked to female genital mutilation. According to the NSPCC, ...
This week a beautiful little blonde and blue-eyed English girl was horrifically sexually mutilated - by her parents. She will be scarred for life both physically and mentally. She could have died in the attack. This was not a lone assault, however. Such ritualistic violence against children happen on average EVERY week among a particular cult in Britain.
The UK has a duty to get behind this momentum and do all we can to keep it going. We owe it to the millions of girls who are at risk of being cut every year. And this is why the UK, through the Department for International Development, will this year become the largest single investor in ending female genital cutting.