‘There is so much pain and shame’: Female Genital Mutilation survivor calls for an end to the practice
A female genital mutilation (FGM) survivor is calling for an end to the barbaric practice – still seen in many women every year in the UK alone – and blames ‘no fault’ for her mother who took her away at the age of nine to a slum clinic.
Basma Kamel, 30, is a student at London Metropolitan University and was a victim of FGM when she was nine years old, after going on a ‘summer break’ with her mother during school holidays while still living in Egypt before moving to the center in 2008. UK moved. 2019.
In the last seven years alone, more than 30,000 cases of FGM were re-identified by NHS doctors, despite the practice being illegal since 1985.
Ms Kamel, who wants to raise awareness about the problem so that others don’t suffer the same consequences as she and the more than 30,000 other women affected in the UK, said: ‘She told me we were going on a summer holiday but she had arranged for me to to do this, encouraged by her friends and other mothers.
Basma Kamel, 30, who was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) when she was nine years old. She said she struggled with her mental health for a long time after her FGM, but is now able to accept her own body
“We went to a doctor in a special clinic where I had the procedure.
“Honestly, I had no idea what was going on.
“The doctor told me it’s just a minor operation and it wouldn’t hurt.”
But a week after the procedure, Basma was bleeding because the stitches ‘were open and had to be changed again’.
The law on FGM
Female genital mutilation has been a specific offense in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act of 1985.
The 1985 Act was replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003.
It now also helps to help and take children abroad to get a haircut.
Currently, performing FGM carries a maximum prison term of 14 years.
In 2019, the mother of a three-year-old girl became the first person in the UK to be found guilty of FGM. The 37-year-old woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison in the landmark case.
Ms Kamel said her mother never gave her a proper explanation of why she had to undergo the circumcision but added: ‘She said this is something we all do for all girls so every woman has to go through it.
“She said it’s good for my future if I get married.
“When I was nine, I didn’t quite understand the difference.”
She is no longer angry with her mother.
Ms Kamel said: ‘I understand she was not aware of the real consequences of FGM and she is also a survivor.
“I don’t blame her for doing this, because this is something every woman in our culture does to her daughter.”
She still suffers the consequences of her FGM today.
“I suffer from PTSD and complicated intersexual relationships,” she said.
‘Before I came to the UK in 2019 I couldn’t have a sexual relationship.
“I finally got therapy here and it helped me understand myself and showed me that I can have a normal relationship.”
‘I always have to explain myself to a partner and I really have to take the time to do that.
“Sometimes I can’t say I’m a survivor and this happened to me.
“There is so much pain and shame. It takes a lot of energy to explain FGM to someone and it really affected my mental health.
“I accept my body now, but I wasn’t before. I felt very angry and incomplete.’
As a survivor of FGM, it is very important for the 30-year-old to raise awareness as the procedure is still being performed despite it being illegal in the UK since 1985 and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
New data in December revealed that for the first time last year the number of newly identified cases of FGM has fallen to no more than 700 over the four-month period from July to September when the data was collected by the NHS.
Overall, the number of FGM identified by NHS workers has fallen from the start of data collection in 2015 by 6,000 cases to date, where the number of around 3,000 newly identified cases per year has remained constant over the past three years.
Overall, the number of FGM identified by NHS workers has fallen from the start of data collection in 2015 by 6,000 cases to date, where the number of around 3,000 newly identified cases per year has remained constant over the last three years
Ms. Kamel said, “Sometimes I can’t say I’m a survivor and this happened to me. There is so much pain and shame. It takes a lot of energy to explain this to someone and it really affected my mental health. I accept my body now, but before I wasn’t. I felt very angry and incomplete’ (file image)
“It’s banned, but it’s still being done,” Ms Kamel said.
“I wish more people would complain about it and more advocacy would be done in Africa.
More than 3,000 new cases of FGM a year in the UK, statistics suggest
Figures from the NHS in 2022 suggested there may be more than 3,000 newly identified victims of FGM in the UK each year.
NHS Digital produced statistics of cases noticed by nurses or doctors across the country.
It is believed that most cases involved mutilation abroad.
The up-to-date figures, which were to be released on December 1, were delayed by more than two weeks to December 20 due to ‘operational problems’.
In the three-quarters of this year’s data collection to September, 2,320 new cases of FGM were identified by nurses and doctors across the NHS.
“I hope that education will be provided to people and communities who believe in FGM there and here in the UK.
There should also be more support for survivors.
“I’m now trying to encourage younger mothers not to do this to their daughters.
‘Many women think it’s normal, because they’ve never experienced anything else. I want them to understand.
‘People only stop when they realize that this procedure has consequences, not only physically but also psychologically.
“Hopefully this practice will end soon everywhere.”
Ms Kamel added that by sharing her story she hopes she can do her part to end FGM in the UK and in her home country of Egypt.
According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Kam Thandi of the NSPCC said: ‘FGM is a horrific form of child abuse that has no place in today’s society.
‘FGM can cause lasting physical and emotional scars, including severe pain and infertility, along with psychological problems such as depression, flashbacks and self-harm.
“Children experiencing it often don’t know what’s happening, so it’s critical that anyone who knows about someone at risk of FGM speak out to ensure this dangerous practice is ended once and for all.” will be ended.’
What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure in which the female genitals are intentionally cut, injured or altered, but there is no medical reason to do so.
It is also known as female circumcision or circumcision, and by other terms, such as Sunna, Gudniin, Halalays, Tahur, Megrez, and Khitan, among others.
FGM is usually performed on young girls between infancy and age 15, usually before puberty begins.
It is illegal in the UK and is child abuse.
It is very painful and can seriously damage the health of women and girls.
It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth, and mental health.