Since launching at the end of June 2013, the NSPCC's FGM helpline has received over 700 contacts from the public and professionals, nearly 300 have been so serious they have been referred onwards. One call involved a member of the public who had called with concerns for a young child who was absent from school for a few months for a holiday in Nigeria. Suspicions arose as the child's mother gave varying explanations for the absence and on her return to school the child's demeanour and mood had changed and she complained about painful toilet trips.
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 That is an outdated worldview which must be broken down.
We can certainly commend all health officials working on the ground level to abolish these cruel rituals in countries such as Egypt but it really is up to the religious leaders of the world to unite with great determination to help abolish this cruel practice; a practice that has no solid historical evidence to suggest that this can be done in the name of the name of God.
Efua Dorkenoo, OBE, known affectionately to many, as 'Mama Efua' was a shining light in the movement to end FGM, dedicating her life to the eradication of the practice. Often referred to as the mother of the end FGM campaign, she fought for decades and battled to ensure that FGM stopped being a minority issue that was ignored to an issue was recognized as a priority by governments and policy makers around the world.
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.