Egypt Independent

Egyptian website seeks to combat Female Genital Mutilation



 

A new website, titled “Enough with FGM” has been launched to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), as a part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of the pratice, Vivian Fouad, coordinator of the National Strategy against FGM announced.

The website includes religious, health and medical materials seeking to educate readers on the dangers of FGM. It includes video clips from accomplished obstetricians and gynecologists, alongside religious figures, discussing the severity of FGM risks.

Fouad told Egypt Independent that the website received anonymous posts from people reporting FGM attempts or revealing the locations of doctors who illegally preform the operation, so the website can cooperate with the general prosecution to investigate.

“We’ve received a recent notice of a doctor in Al-Giza governorate who was secretly performing FGM on girls in his clinic. We communicated with the Ministry of Health who they notified the prosecution. The clinic was and the doctor arrested,” she explained.

The website frequently receives questions from parents skeptical if FGM really is unhealthy, illegal and forbidden by Islamic sharia.

“These are actually the most calls we receive,” Foud said, “We answer all their questions comprehensively with scientific proof, explaining pure in a factual manner without exaggeration to maintain their trust.”

“For instance, if I tell a father planning to take his daughter for FGM that she may die, it’s certainly a very real risk, but he still wouldn’t believe us as he would know several examples of girls who have come through FGM alive,” Fouad explained.

The site also receives stories from women who went through FGM. They anonymously dictate their bad experiences, such as how it’s affected their sex lives, as a way of discouraging parents from going through the practice with their girls.

In 2016, Egyptian parliament approved a bill to tighten the criminality of FGM, with a penalty of  five to seven years in prison for those who carry out FGM. The penalty would reach 15 years if it caused permanent disability or death, and those who also escorted the girl would receive one to three years in prison.

“Ever since FGM was criminalized people have become much more willing to speak out against it. According to the general prosecution indices, the number of complaints received doubled after the new year, as from 2012 to 2016 they only received three cases, while 2016-2018 saw 10 complaints,” Fouad said.

She added that cultural awareness and education are the most pivotal tools in shaping the minds of future generations who will one day be parents themselves.

Supporting Fouad’s statements, PM Nadia Henary praised the website, saying that it will help monitor most FGM attempts. She believed that raising awareness is the solution to ending the practice, since with the new law efforts from women who have undergone FGM to put an end to it are skyrocketing.

“Unfortunately even though doctors are being arrested, legal procedures still don’t always go smoothly, and so they continue easily being released,” Henary told Egypt Independent.

Henary is currently working on a bill to protect people who report on FGM attempt or  on a doctor who practice FGM operations, not to be subjected to legal accountability.