Hidden World of Female Genital Mutilation in the UK

Sue Lloyd Roberts, BBC News, July 23, 2013

Every year around 20,000 young women in the UK and France are “at risk” from female genital mutilation (FGM), but the way each country’s authorities deal with those who carry it out are very different.

Twenty-three-year-old Ayanna, herself a victim of FGM, stands against the rain-lashed window of her home on the 19th floor of a Glasgow tower block in the Red Road district of the city–home to a new wave of refugees under the government’s dispersal programme.

“I am so happy here,” she says, clutching her 11-month-old baby to her.

“I no longer suffer the pain of sex with my husband. The pain was worse than childbirth.”

She claimed political asylum to escape a forced marriage and to spare her daughter mutilation.

Ayanna explains that other mothers are allowing their daughters to be cut in Glasgow.

“There were two children on the estate, one aged three years and the other two weeks, who were cut recently by the elder women.

“They use razors, scissors and sharp knives”.

FGM is a procedure which, at the least, involves cutting away part of the clitoris or, at its most brutal, all the exposed female genitalia, leaving only a small opening for urination and menstruation.

Women can die from its complications; sexual intercourse and child birth can be agonising.

It is accepted practice in parts of Africa and the Middle East and in immigrant communities from those areas. Some believe that it is a necessary part of becoming a woman. There is also a belief that FGM can reduce a woman’s libido, and thus the chances of extra-marital sex.

In Glasgow I met a group of Somali women, all of whom had been mutilated.

“If the authorities could help us to make these people stop it, we would be very happy,” says one of them.

“Since I arrived two years ago, I have heard nothing,” says another. “There should be announcements, classes so people understand what’s right and what’s wrong.”

No prosecutions

Five hundred miles away in Bristol, a group of schoolgirls tell me about “FGM parties”.

“They cut them all together, as a group, because it is cheaper and quicker that way,” explains 17-year-old Amina.

“At first the girls are all excited because it’s a party, until they realise what is going to happen, and then they get frightened.

“It’s done by the elder women, or the Imam, whoever is expert at cutting.”

About 20,000 children in England and Wales, and about the same number in France, are deemed “at risk” every year.

The laws which made FGM illegal were introduced in France and England at about the same time, in the mid-1980s.

But whereas some 100 parents and practitioners of FGM have been convicted in France, there has never been a single prosecution in the UK.

I meet Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a seasoned campaigner against FGM, at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

She is trying her best not to be rude about the English.

“In England, you are very respectful of your immigrants,” she says.

“It is very different in France. They have to integrate and they have to obey our laws.”


She walks me over to the Eurostar platform to tell me the story of two little girls who were about to board the train headed for St. Pancras to be mutilated in the UK.

“It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for the Saturday.

“A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey.”

The parents were cautioned. Had they gone ahead with the mutilations and been found out, they would have been imprisoned for up to 13 years.

“We simply will not tolerate this practice,” Isabelle explains.

Does she think many French children have been cut in the UK?

“Yes, because you do not care,” she says.

Scotland Yard’s specialist in child abuse cases, Commander Simon Foy, disagrees.

“I am not necessarily sure that the availability of a stronger sense of prosecution will change it (the incidence of FGM) for the better.”

The trouble is that what Isabelle calls our “respect” and what others call “cultural sensitivity” makes detection in the UK almost impossible.

In France, mothers and babies attend specialist clinics up until the age of six.

The genitalia of baby girls are routinely examined for signs of mutilation.

Dr Amellou, who works in a clinic in a Paris suburb explains that after the age of six, responsibility is handed over to school medical teams.

They continue to inspect girls, especially those coming from those high-risk ethnic groups.

I point out that such a thing would be unacceptable in Britain.

“What is your problem,” she asks? “Our interest is in protecting the child.”

“If we find a girl has been mutilated, we offer her psychological support and, if she wants it, surgery,” she adds.

Reconstructive surgery

At 7am in a clinic on the outskirts of Paris, Dr Foldes is scrubbing up for the first of six operations he is due to perform that day to reverse FGM.

An anaesthetised woman from Guinea Bissau, is wheeled in the operating theatre, her legs are put in stirrups and the doctor begins.

“It will take only half an hour,” he explains, “I restore the clitoris and labia, which were sliced off when she was six years old.”

He says this will help the woman enjoy “normal sex and the delivery of a baby”.

The patient will pay nothing for this life-changing operation. Dr Foldes operates “pro bono” and the state picks up the costs.

“I have operated on about 50 patients from the UK,” he tells me, “but they must pay for everything.”

Dr Comfort Momoh, is universally recognised as the UK’s expert on the subject. She says that reconstructive surgery is not offered on the NHS.

From her office at St. Thomas’s Hospital on London’s South Bank, she explains that there are now 17 FGM specialist clinics in the UK.

“We see women who are about to give birth.

“After they are cut, they are sewn up so tightly that the baby cannot get out when they go into labour. We have to cut them open.”

With the recent influx of Somali immigrants in to the UK, fleeing the war there, she warns that there are not enough NHS clinics available for what is a growing problem.

“I was in Glasgow recently,” she says “and they can’t cope.”

Back in Bristol, Muna who was born in Somalia and came to Bristol from Sweden in 2003, is baffled as to why the government does not do more to stop it.

“Those statistics show how little the government is doing.

“They are so terrified and they are using cultural sensitivity as a barrier to stop them from really doing anything.

“What would you do if the girl had blue eyes and blonde hair? Would FGM still be carrying on in the UK?”

I ask her if she has a message for David Cameron?

“Yes,” she says, “do something about FGM.

“And if you can’t handle the issue then there is no point in you doing your job.”

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  • Spartacus

    “Since I arrived two years ago, I have heard nothing,” says another.
    “There should be announcements, classes so people understand what’s
    right and what’s wrong.”


    People DO understand what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s just that you’re not people…

    • evilsandmich

      At that point, it’s already way too late, no? I mean, if you have to start the class to teach people that carving up women for sport is wrong, lord knows what else needs to be taught (and the utter futility of it since I’m sure such teachings would disagree with ‘The Book’).

  • David Ashton

    “Truly multi-cultural”.

  • din_do_nuffins

    Why can’t “cultural sensitivity” prevent me from being targeted because of my White privilege?

  • JohnEngelman

    Before the British ruled India there was a tradition called suttee. When the body of a man was cremated his wife was expected to throw herself on the pyre and burn herself to death. The British outlawed that practice, and made it a capital offense to be present and not to prevent a woman from doing that.

    Hindus came to the British authorities and complained that suttee was an old Indian tradition.

    They were told, “In Britain we have an old tradition. Men who pressure women to burn themselves to death are hanged.”

    The practice came to an end.

    The European colonialists should have been equally diligent in ending female genital mutilation when they ruled the continent of Africa.

    • evilsandmich

      And who can forget Mao’s outlawing of foot binding; even a ruthless, murdering dictator isn’t as completely clueless as these people.

      • David Ashton

        I have not checked but think it was the Kuomintang that strove to end foot-binding. Mao introduced different miseries for Chinese women.

  • gemjunior

    Would FGM still be carrying on in the UK if the girl had blond hair and blue eyes?

    If she was blond and blue eyed, that would mean she was from some country in Europe, which would never have started such a savage practice on their women. Thank God our men would never do such mental things, and even has a history of chivalry and the protection of women, and children. I thank God every day to be from such a background, and not from one of these godforsaken shitholes….

    • KenelmDigby

      The sheer gall and arrogance of blacks never, ever ceases to amaze me.
      So a practice done by Somalis on Somalis, for thousands and thousands of years which is engrained in them as much as their black skin is engrained in them, which is their most cherished and dearly-held custom, of which all interference by kuffars is bitterly and violently resisted, is somehow the fault of the Whites they have imposed themselves upon.
      Even a seven year old is more mature and reasonable than that.

  • Rhialto

    Have patience, Muna! When the UK becomes a caliphate, blond blue eyed females will be prime targets of the clit clippers. Today’s feminiists will be dragging them to the chopping block.

  • AngloCelt

    Cultural enrichment through diversity, courtesy of New Labour.

  • Tacitus1

    Somalia ….now there is place that has never produced anything to the betterment of the human condition in a long time. It may or may not be the location of the mythical land of Punt as mentioned by the Ancient Egyptians.

  • Michelle

    Reason #8763 Im glad i was born with white parents.. Thank you white men for being normal, sane and respectful of your women and for not making your women hack off their vaginas.. Seriously, Thank you!!

    • Spartacus

      Remember… The worst cases of abuse towards women done in white nations is better than the norm in most non-white societies.

      • Michelle

        That’s so true!!..I have the best dad, i have few memories of him even raising his voice at me.. However, I’d still take an abusive white dad over an African who mandates my 4yr old vagina be chopped off by some old women witch doctor with a rusty old knife.. And the descendants of these loonies are who we share our country with,forced to share our schools and neighbourhoods with and told They’re just like us. Ughhh..

  • dd121

    I don’t think the left actually likes the practice of female genitile mutalation, but they’re so culturally enriched by Mohammedanism they just can’t bring themselves to openly condemn the practice.

  • KenelmDigby

    “About 20,000 children a year are deemed at risk”.
    Consider that only around 350,000 or so girls are born in the UK in any one year.
    Consider that only a minority of muslims practice FGM, (Pakistanis, the vast majority of muslims living in Britain do not). Consider that muslims, as a whole, are only around half the
    total number of third-worlders living in Britain.
    So a quick and dirty estimate is that at least a quarter of children in the UK are darkies.

  • Romulus

    The only thing that screamed out at me was, WTF ARE SOMALIS DOING IN SCOTLAND!!! If its their women or camel riders, to me its a non story.

    • They are part of the government’s “Dispersal Policy” – otherwise known as shipping the detritus of the third world (who have managed to set foot in Britain) to cheaper parts of the British Isles, where housing and rents etc are cheaper.

      This is so that they save money whilst committing genocide against the British people – by leaving nowhere untouched from this “increased diversity”.

      What’s even more tragic is that I bet many Scots (who in my experience tend to be disproportionately left-wing / socialist), would rather rant on about the English and independence from the union than be bothered about Scotland turning into Somalia and Pakistan MkII.

      • Romulus

        The comments I’d like to post would be deleted immediately. I can hardly contain my anger and sadness. Surely the Scots don’t view there new tenants as Scots, Do they?

        • I shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush. I suppose they are equally variant in opinion as any other place in Britain.

          However, I have found there to be a more left-leaning nature to Scotland (as can be seen in their voting habits too) in a way which is similar to places like Liverpool – no doubt due to the industrial history of both of those places.

          From my limited English perspective though, the Scots are still a bit too trapped in old animosities and silly rivalries with the English to have fully woken up to the kind of future that Scotland could become.

          Not all Scots will be welcoming of it, that is for sure.

          Just like in England where you get plenty of lefty muppets who would insist these immigrant descended populations are “English”, Scotland will be the same.

          • Romulus

            I simply cannot comprehend how the UK could have let itself become susceptible to such an unbelievable mind fk. I’ve studies theirs and European history from every angle and find it mind boggling that such a travesty could be enacted and/ or accepted. From anthropology, genetics,archeology, empirical history, linguistics,invasion/migration patterns. The “red lady” (a man) of the cheddar caves proves beyond all doubt only a certain kind of people are truly aboriginal to the islands. Even more disturbing(if you believe him) prof. Bryan Sykes research demonstrated that the so named germanic and Scandinavian peoples are more closely related than are eastern Mediterranean type caucasoid. L. Austine Waddell’s book even shows that what is now known as Jordan is the origin of the Phoenicians( ancestors of the of the UK). What will happen to a kingdom that’s about the size of new Jersey (English name) when everyone is a half breed haji or mulatto? I fear for European future. What if they no longer teach of cu’ cullainn, Brian boru,Alfred, Arthur,Wallace, William,prince Charlie, UTHER,Victoria, king James?? Pardon me if I left any out. I see all true Europeans as the same blood with varying languages and cultures. Brian bates’ ” The real middle earth” is an excellent book on pre-Roman Europe and the only true one, as far as im concerned. Although, much influence to the good was absorbed. Ill says prayer for you all and European as well. What is happening now, makes a strong case for the last two global wars to have never happened,which I call white war 1&2. Pat j. Buchanan wrote a book on that very subject called “the unnecessary war”. I don’t recall the exact slant(i.e. Blame Germany)

          • David Ashton

            Buchanan’s book was panned quite incorrectly by one reviewer as “antisemitic rubbish”. He puts the blame for the “white wars” on Britain rather than Germany. It is quite a good revisionist study in my view.
            I agree with you about the racial commonality of Europeans, but personally regard Waddell as weird – he wrote an excellent book on Tibet, and then produced some very mixed stuff on the British, Sumerians and others.

          • Romulus

            I don’t believe that it was the British either, but the banker,media,knowledge industry, and courts “English” *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*. I found Waddell a little long in the tooth . Here, across the pond, you can go to any Barnes and noble and pick up both a copy of the atlas of christianity and the atlas of judaism for around ten bucks a piece. Given their common origin, when you cross reference both books chronologically with European history, it obviates the force behind the continents evolution over the last two thousand years.

          • David Ashton

            Good for you. Don’t give up. Never give in.
            Readers should still find a summary of Pat’s book on Wikipedia.

      • KenelmDigby

        In my opinion, the ‘dispersal policy’ works in the favor of nationalists.
        – The more areas infected, the more rapidly can only help our cause.
        For too long, Scots and others in the less ‘cosmopolitan’ parts of London have shrugged their shoulders and said it was a ‘London problem’ and nothing to do with them.
        Now reality will hit them squarely in the face.

        • I take the view that it will mean that there is nowhere left where nationalists or any other whites can gather without encroachment and “mixing” in the long term.

          It is also piecemeal, like the famous ‘frog in hot water’ experiment. By the time the natives are finding themselves in full swing of the negatives, it is always too late for the said area.

          This is one reason as to why I do not really subscribe to the “worse is better” principle. People have been saying that since the 1970’s – and look where we are now, with at least 3 cities majority non-white.

          People do not ‘wake up’ and do something – they will continue to move away to an ever decreasing pocket of white majority, continue to blame ‘lower quality of life’, continue to think the same way, vote the same way.

          My own town here in Lancashire is over 33% Pakistani and others of similar heritage. It was less than 1% in 1960. There has been no uprising, no massive swing to nationalist parties, no action taken. People either move, or still shrug their shoulder and ‘get on with it’.

          Some even violently swing the other direction, and even spend their time helping these people – such as in women’s groups, interfaith workshops, breast feeding help for their womenfolk, or whatever.

          This is even in small towns, not just cities.

          There was even a little skit on the news yesterday, citing how the accents from London’s East End were migrating to other parts of London.

          This means, to me, that there has been a significant exodus of genune Londoners from similar areas, enough to form a dominance in accent in a new area.

          Typically, the BBC announced this news of accents in a typically “positive” fashion, suggesting that the new residents of east-end London are from “migrant backgrounds” and not likely to “talk cockney”.

          • David Ashton

            The “natives” are hemmed in by coercive legislation and official indoctrination, with facts on the ground being encouraged by some personal and commercial relations with the “new”-comers.

  • Fredrik_H

    “In the US this would be agg. assault or sexual assault and could probably get a life sentence.”

    You sure about that? Aren’t there a lot of somalis in places like Minnesota? Never heard about Minnesotans (sp?) locking up their somalis for cutting up their kids.

  • Alucard_the_last

    That’s funny. Where are the feminists? I guess all cultures are equal so they are silent. As we see -again, political correctness isn’t intellectual correctness and it only applies to white males.

  • Romulus

    After reading Mr. Ashtons review, it reminded me that buchanans is a revisionist view putting the blame on Britain. I agree with David. It’s been awhile since I read it. After countless hours of study and witnessing the same pattern of who”occupy’s” Americas power structure on both the left and the right, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the “deceivers” are the ones who have always undermined the West. See dialogue above and below with Mr. Ashton. The more I’ve come to be aware, the more I need quiet reflection time. Quite often, despair overcomes me and I need to unplug. I used to spend hours pouring over the West’s history and heroes to lift my spirits. I think as more become aware ,a return of faith will ensue. We as a people have become so disjointed, im troubled that will take a catastrophic event to stir the zombies.
    I remain hopeful, though! I simply cannot, Will nott ever give up. It is not in my nature.

  • Romulus

    Why do keep deleting my comments!!!!!?????. Surely you don’t believe that just anybody is a a SCOT simply because one has a new address, do you?
    I respectfully request an explanation Mr/Ms MODERATOR.

  • Spartacus

    We’re not that lucky…