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UK Woman’s Child Saved from Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation is an atrocity that should not be tolerated. It is also an issue that must be discussed. Although it is not common in all areas of the world, it is happening to too many women and young girls in our world today.

The World Health Organization website contends, “It is estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated. Furthermore, there are an estimated 3 million girls at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation every year. The majority of girls are cut before they turn 15 years old.”

Recently, a woman in the UK was living a nightmare. Lola Ilesanmi was facing deportation to Nigeria.

As stated in an article overview of FGM in Nigeria, this is due to Nigeria’s large population. Nigeria has the highest number of cases of FGM worldwide. That accounts for about one-quarter of the women suffering from FGM in the world.

Thankfully, Ilesanmi won a reprieve after Theresa May was told that her three-year-old daughter would face female genital mutilation if they returned.

MP Hannah Bardell of the Scottish National Party intervened and appealed for May to get involved at the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons earlier this month. She told May that Ilesanmi had been beaten, forced to have an abortion, and had her face “smashed with an iPad” by her estranged husband because of her refusal to subject their daughter to FGM.

In her letter, May said, “FGM is a crime, it is child abuse and will not be accepted in this country. This Government will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.”

She continues, “I made my commitment to end this practice clear during my time as Home Secretary… This Government takes the issue of FGM very seriously and remains committed to ending FGM within a generation.”

Also, the Prime Minister has now written to the Livingston MP to assure her that a “comprehensive and rigorous assessment” would be made of Illesanmi’s and her childrens situation if they returned to Nigeria.

Bardell said that she was glad with the intervention of the Prime Minister. However, she added, “Lola needs leave to remain to restart her life in Livingston… Leave to remain is not yet guaranteed and is vital for the safety of Lola and her young family.”

Unfortunately, FGM does not only impact the lives of Ilesanmi and her family, but many other young women and girls. Initiatives to keep these individuals safe, and education on the topic is vital in order to move forward and eliminate FGM from the world we live in today.

Featured Image by MONUSCO Photos on Flickr
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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