PRESS STATEMENT – FGM REAL LIFE HORROR STORY FOR OVER 3,000,000 GIRLS
Lars von Triers film “Antichrist” addresses the issue of female self-genital mutilation (FGM), a grave human rights violation.
Naana Otoo-Oyortey, MBE, Executive Director of FORWARD, a UK based charity that campaigns against FGM in the UK, Europe and Africa comments:
“Film plays an important role in bringing taboo issues into the public arena and we welcome this. The act of self-FGM by Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character in “AntiChrist” and our reactions to it highlight the complexities and dilemmas that women continue to face daily.
“The real life horror story is that FGM occurs across the world to 6,000 girls every single day. We may be able to look away from a cinema screen, but can we as a society really look away from what is happening day in, day out? Three million girls every year are still being subjected to FGM and between 100 and 140 million women live with the consequences globally.
“Women worldwide are still being treated as a commodity, with their bodies, minds and spirits subject to control. Until we have concerted action around women’s empowerment, FGM will still happen every single day to girls, some of whom may be younger than five. We need global action to end this practice and would ask all of you not to look away.
There are many reasons why FGM is still practised. The root cause is embedded in the need and desire to disempower women and negate their sexuality. In the film, the character chooses to do this to herself presumably as a result of her grief and trauma. However, in many communities, girls are subjected to FGM because cultural hegemony dictates that women remain in their place and the status quo must be maintained at any cost.
This is not a practice that only occurs in other countries. A study by FORWARD released in October 2007 estimated that the numbers of women resident in England and Wales who have been subjected to FGM at 66,000 and that 24,000 girls are at risk of FGM within the UK. More importantly there is a widespread neglect of mental health issues of women affected by FGM in the UK and this issue in particular must be addressed within our own society.”
Notes to Editors:
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact FORWARD on 020 8960 4000 or Julia Lalla-Maharajh on 07876 654 243 or [email protected]
FORWARD is the leading UK registered charity led primarily by African women that campaigns against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child and Forced Marriage (C&FM) and related sexual rights violations in the UK and Africa. Over the last 25 years, FORWARD has demonstrated a track record of achievements locally and globally through strong leadership and advocacy, partnerships, programme delivery and developing a solid infrastructure of support.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) constitutes partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the external female genitals for non therapeutic reasons. For more information on FGM, please visit: www.forwarduk.org.uk
A study released by FORWARD in October 2007 estimated the numbers of women resident in England and Wales who have been subjected to FGM as 65,790.
Estimates from the World Health Organisation indicate that annually three million girls are subjected to FGM.