I was just driving back from Exeter, dropping my son to work as we have no railway line right now as some of it is in the sea (yes, we live in Teignmouth, the stop along from Dawlish). I was coming up Telegraph Hill through the rain and switched on Radio 4, the World at One, where Martha Kearney was interviewing women about FGM.
Did you know today, February 6th, is International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation?
So I listened in shock to the speakers, one of whom was a remarkable GP who voluntarily runs FGM clinics. Work is begin done in Britain to tackle this practice. To treat women and girls who present with complications. To talk in schools. To educate GPs, social workers, teachers and other front line workers. But there is much work to be done to help heal the wounds and to prevent this crime continuing into the future. Much to be done.
We have to talk about it. FGM is carried out in 28 African countries. Girls and women come to the UK and they have already been cut. Some may possibly be undergoing this horror in the UK. It is barbaric and inhumane wherever it is taking place.
We have to talk about it.
It is 2014. Women all over the world are still treated as inferior to men. They are still not afforded equal rights. In some countries they are not allowed to drive cars. They must cover their faces, never feel the sun on their skin. They are battered and raped. They are cut in the genitals so that they may never enjoy a sexual life; they will suffer through urination, menstruation, childbirth. They may die.
Now, when I post on Facebook about the No More Page 3 campaign, this is something I feel passionate about. Some people have said, why does Sophie get so worked up about this? It is because this is an example of how women are objectified, reduced to a body part. The other extreme of this is FGM. When we view women as inferior to men, as objects, as things with no feelings, no emotions, no life, then we collude in these barbarous acts.
We are all human beings with the same hopes, desires and dreams. We must treat each other as we would be treated. We must be kind. We must go through this life with compassion, respect and love.
Please watch this moving photographic diary from WHO.