Bristol Labour Students speak out against Female Genital Mutilation

FGM is the deliberate mutilation of female genitalia, often involving the removal or cutting of the labia and clitoris. The World Health Organization describes FGM as ‘any procedure that injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons’. FGM has no health benefits and is in fact very harmful to health in many ways. It is illegal, even if carried out by a healthcare professional or if it takes place outside the UK.  It is a form of gender-based violence, a human rights violation and a form of child abuse. The lives of women and girls can be ruined by FGM; it causes physical and mental health problems which can last a lifetime. It also has disastrous effects on women’s relationships and the way they view themselves and their bodies.

On Monday 13th December general meeting, Bristol Labour Students committed itself to supporting Daughters of Eve, a Bristol-based charity against female genital mutilation. Bristol Labour Students releases the following statement:

Bristol Labour Students recognises Female Genital Mutilation as an extremely damaging form of gender based violence, and a threat to the human rights of women and girls in the UK and worldwide. We believe that it is important to break the silence around this issue, and raise awareness among students and the general public. For this reason, we resolve to actively support and promote campaigns run by Daughters of Eve. We hope that by setting an example to other groups, we can begin to achieve a greater public understanding of FGM and work to bring it to an end.

Daughters of Eve is a non-profit organisation – co-founded by Nimko Ali, a Bristol based activist – that works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from FGM. By raising awareness about FGM and sign-posting support services they aim to help people who are affected by FGM and ultimately help bring an end to this practice. Their wider work is to advance and protect the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health rights of young people from FGM practicing communities. They recognise that FGM occurs in the context of wider harmful practices and that young people often have many different problems. They take a holistic approach, offering advice and support to help young people in as many ways as possible.

Ruth Davies, Women’s Officer of Bristol Labour Students, says, “Female Genital Mutilation is a disturbing form of gender-based violence which is all too often overlooked. It is important Bristol Labour Students support activists like Nimko; breaking the silence on this issue is crucial to ending it. We intend to support Daughters of Eve and work with them on joint events”.

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