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.
All health staff should be trained on FGM and schools need to raise awareness amongst staff and students. Only then will we get legal action. Just like the first cases of domestic violence decades ago, successful prosecutions for FGM depend upon awareness and understanding of the danger by neighbours, relatives, teachers, health professionals and police.