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How do we better protect girls and young women from female genital mutilation?

Girls and young women must be better protected from female genital mutilation, but what is required to achieve this? Some suggestions that have been made include following the example of France to implement physical examination of girls. Would this be the right answer? What are the opportunities for the promotion of joint training across health, education, social work, police and prosecution services. 

This issue is up for debate at the 2014 Annual Representative Meeting? [Motion 324]

4 replies

  • I really love this motion! I'll have to do some research about how France undertakes the physical examination of girls, and I wonder what this would look like in the UK. Do we know of any schools which tackle the topic?

  • Does it not occur to anybody that this motion contravenes the BMA stance on gender equality? At what point does male genital mutilation get discussed? MGM is if anything more prevalent - parents are allowed to have the genitalia of perfectly healthy boys cut simply for their own aesthetic tastes. The child does not get any choice in the matter and it has similar consequences to FGM with regards to sensitivity in future life. It can have an enormous detrimental affect upon the confidence and even mental health of the boy. It is often done under no anaesthetic, in a non-sterile environment, by people with no medical training. Yet this motion completely fails to mention MGM. How is this acceptable?

  • In reply to Joy James:

    I agree with Joy Elinor James that male genital mutilation should not be carried out on children - but its primary purpose is not to remove sexual pleasure.  Female genital mutilation is a truly awful thing and UK doctors should be united in opposing it,  

    Sadly there seems to be as sizeable minority of doctors in this country who support it.  For instance, I was shocked to read in one locum agency's "mandatory training" that it was "illegal, but cultural sensitivities should be taken into account" when deciding whether to refer a girl for operation.  It is frightening that vested interests seem to have worked their way so far into medical education.

    Doctors must stand united in opposing this cruel and barbaric practice in order to stamp it out: they should publically declare their opposition to it at every opportunity and not allow it to creep in "by the back door".  "Cultural sensitivity" is one thing, but breaking the law is very different!

  • We shouldn't criticise the French system while our system is almost completely failing to locate girls who have been abused in this way. The French "zero tolerance" approach to this crime against women is working well.