FORWARD collaborated with ITV to raise the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the popular TV drama ‘The Bill’. Airing on October 12th, the story line featured a Christian Coptic family originally from Egypt, living in the UK. In an effort to ‘keep his culture alive’ the father arranged for FGM to be performed on his daughter but the mother contacted the police and told them that her daughter had disappeared, rather than revealing that the father had taken the daughter to undergo FGM.
FORWARD welcomed the episode as an innovative way of highlighting the issue of FGM and challenging the misconception that FGM is only associated with Islam. The programme also showed how fathers may insist on their daughters undergoing FGM, reflecting FORWARD’s argument that FGM is a societal concern, not only a ‘women’s issue’, as commonly perceived. The episode also successfully discussed child protection with officers from the Child Protection Unit investigating the case. While the episode mentioned the illegality of FGM in the UK, very little mention of the 2003 FGM Act was made.
FORWARD’s details were displayed at the end of the programme and we received several calls, mostly from people asking for more information.