It affects millions of girls and women all over the globe each year - Female Genital Multilation, or FGM, is a harmful practice often mistaken as 'cultural tradition'. In fact, it is nothing other than child abuse. And one charity has set out to eradicate it completely.
As part of the world's biggest girl's rights campaign, Plan has vowed to act. New research shows that more than 125 million girls and women all over the world are living with the consequences of being cut - and many, many more are at risk in the UK and abroad. Effects of the brutual act - in which a girl typically aged from 8 to 15 is subjected to having her inner labia, and sometimes clitoris, cut away, before her labia are sewn tightly, reducing the size of the vagina opening - can be fatal. Whilst there are no health benefits to FGM, it can cause severe shock, bleeding, horrendous infections, inability to urinate and, of course, an awful lot of pain. It can also completely eradicate a woman's ability to enjoy sex.
Plan want to stop women being forced to endure that. As part of it's Because I am a Girl work, the charity has released this powerful new video called #FGMrose shot by agency Marmalade Film & Media, which features a rose being cut by scissors.
“FGM is a human rights violation facing millions of girls and young women across the world,” says Plan UK CEO, Tanya Barron.
“We believe FGM is a global problem that requires a co-ordinated global solution.
“Because the beliefs and traditions that are used to justify FGM cross borders, we won’t end FGM in the UK without ending it abroad.”
Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign has reached 58 million girls worldwide to date, including work to eradicate FGM and child marriage.
Though illegal in the UK and many other countries, a number of complex cultural and social reasons mean FGM is still practised, such as a belief it protects chastity.
Plan's projects in Africa and Asia have shown that having knowledge of the harmful impact of FGM, as well as understanding how it is linked to discrimination against women and girls, can help end it.
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