Tuesday, 18 August 2009

August, holiday mode

Today, the offices are quiet. Offices everywhere are quiet. Outside is a beautiful summer's day, with achingly blue skies. Opposite me is an oil painting done by a women who has gone through FGM. She sits naked, legs apart fearfully gazing down between them, at a present - a wrapped yellow box with green flowers on the paper. It has an orange bow. A veritable gift. Onto the gift are fallings, streams of her blood, intermingling with the tears coursing down her face. It seems to sum up the fearful juxtaposition of the gift and celebration by which FGM is ushered in.

My mission is to look at the inbox from the website, that handles general enquiries.

A heart-rending mix. Some are straightforward requests from healthcare organisations wanting training, others are about linking to our website. So far, so good. But the ones that make me pause for a time and stay with me on the bus home are about people asking for help. Real help. Mothers and fathers, boyfriends, girls themselves. Some are UK based, others are wider afloat. All have their own story.

In a recent discussion about sexual health and reproductive rights and women being able to access their own sexual pleasure, I was struck by how FGM precedes this whole discusion. How to access these if girls are wounded at such a young age?

As ever with my blog, more questions than answers.

I leave you with two thoughts - one is that a recent study in Iraqi Kurdistan showed a prevelance rate of around 80% FGM (here: http://tinyurl.com/ptx98s) the second is that Egypt has arrested its first person for practising FGM (here: http://bit.ly/v5jxK)

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