The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

By a Resident of Dagenham

March 2017

Many of you will have seen the February episode of Call the Midwife where the Midwives of Nonnatus house deliver the baby of a woman from Somaliland who has undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), once called female circumcision, also called cutting. On initial examination Mrs Farah is found to have ‘no more below than that child’s plastic doll’. The baby is born safely through an emergency episiotomy but the midwives are unable to prevent Mrs Farah’s younger sister being returned to Somaliland on the orders of her grandmother to be mutilated during the school holidays. Mrs Farah gives the midwives a passionate defence of her culture and the honour in which her sister will be held; but the voice over by Vanessa Redgrave tells us that after living in England for some years she does not send her own baby daughter for the procedure.

There are various forms or degrees of FGM. To be brief the clitoris or part may be removed (clitorectomy) and all or part of the labia minor and major may be removed. At its most drastic form all of this will be completed by abrasion of the inside of the vagina the sides of which are then stitched together sealing the vaginal passage. The edges of the labia will be sewn together (infibulation) and a small hole left for the exit of urine and menstrual fluid. The process is extremely painful and leaves girls prone to bladder and urine infections, and other infections of the urogenital system. The mere act of visiting the lavatory can take a woman half an hour – drip- drip –drip… The long term effect on women’s health is far beyond the initial agony, if they survive the process. Girls die of shock, infection and blood loss. It is usually performed well before the girl reaches puberty; depending on the region from 4 days old (Yemen) into the mid-teens (Kenya). In most cases the girl is too young to understand what is to happen, to have any say in it, a chance to protest or avoid the ordeal.

So why is it done? It is a practice in more than one culture and the reasons vary. There is a strong element of making sure that a girl remains a virgin until marriage and a chaste wife thereafter. Some Middle Eastern urban societies can enclose their women in harems where they work indoors or in buildings lit by an internal courtyard.  But in rural societies, especially nomadic ones in North and North East Africa women are expected to work in the fields and with livestock. Instead of sealing them within a family workshop it was found convenient to seal them internally and they can be safely sent into the meadows to herd the goats.

Some elders believe that the very pain is itself a good thing because it makes the girls into obedient, submissive, enduring women who will bear all troubles inflicted on them stoically and silently.

The practice is more prevalent in Islamic cultures of Somalia, Egypt, North Africa and some parts of the Middle East. I have met Pakistani Muslims who are horrified at the idea.

Some Muslims will say it is not part of Islam; others that it is and they are reluctant to see that the damage it causes is any sort of problem.

A Muslim might say “There is nothing in the Koran mandating this” Which is true; the Koran only mandates male circumcision. The holy writ upon which proponents of FGM rely is one of the Ahadith, the sayings and deeds of Mohammed collected by his friends and family. Mohammed is the perfect man, to be emulated in all things, so if he did something or approved of something, all Muslims must follow.  The Hadith concerned is in the collection compiled by Iman Abu Dawud, and was recollected by Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah who was one of Mohammed’s female companions. She narrated “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
In other words it is a good thing, but do not take to extremes.

I once had a discussion with a prominent Saudi born cleric on the subject. “Genital mutilation is wrong” he said. “But circumcision, done properly is a blessing and an honour for a woman” This was in east London; a conversation with a man of influence in London and England currently.

People will say, “But the practice predates Islam”. It does. I will quote the Somali born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali here. She underwent FGM in her own childhood. She wrote “Muslim scholars have never condemned the ritual of female circumcision because in Islam the importance of virginity at marriage counts so heavily. When they came into contact with this tribal ritual they must have thought, Hey, wouldn’t that be a good way to guarantee a girl’s virginity? Excellent!”1

People will say “But other cultures practice it” and they do; but for different reasons and they are amenable to change. For example, the Dassanech tribe of East Africa, of animist belief, told BBC documentary maker Bruce Parry, as part of the series Tribe, that during labour the clitoris will expand and suffocate the emerging baby, kill the mother and damage the rest of the family. So the clitoris is removed from the woman before she marries and starts a family. As Christianity spreads in East Africa, combined with modern education about the behaviour of the clitoris, helped by the efforts of the Mother’s Union, women have begun to drop the practice. In some Muslim dominated countries where the few Christians are heavily persecuted the Christians may perform FGM on their daughters in the hope that conformity to the Islamic norm will reduce the amount of persecution their daughters will suffer. The female genitals are seen as dirty. Removal will render a girl clean and pure.

In that episode of Call the Midwife Nurse Crane says that “this” (FGM) was performed in the UK in years gone by. As FGM it wasn’t. But during the 19th century a few doctors working with women with mental health problems did perform clitorectomies. The thinking was that removing an organ of excitement and stimulation might sooth and calm women whose symptoms were severe agitation and paranoia. It wasn’t effective, the theory was erroneous, and like phrenology as a doctrine it is no longer performed other than to treat some very rare cases of cancer.

When I was asked to write this essay I thought some local facts would be useful so I made a freedom of Information request to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

I asked the Council for the figures for the last three years of girls and women who have been found to have undergone the procedure, broken down into age groups. Whether this was discovered by the school or social services, and “How many times have steps been taken, and what were those steps, to prevent a young girl undergoing the procedure?  In how many cases was the girl removed into council care? In how many cases were the police involved? “

They replied (Appendix i) that for the year 2015/16 90 instances of FGM were dealt with. 43 were aged 0-4, 34 of primary school age, 6 referred through education, the majority through health care professionals. For the year 2016/17 78 cases were dealt with; 42 girls aged 0-4, 24 primary school age and the majority again referred through health care. To my other questions they replied that they could not answer as either they did not keep data or the question was best addressed to the Area Health Authority.  I am not sure why Barking and Dagenham Council does not keep statistics of the activities of their own social workers, or why they think those activities are supervised by Queens and King George’s hospitals.

I asked Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust for information about the number of women presenting at maternity departments having undergone FGM. They replied:

2015-16 at booking: 114 2015-16 at delivery: 78

2016-17 at booking: 103 2016-17 at delivery: 96

I did not expect them to be able to break down their figures to a specific borough. I was given a link to the NHS digital dataset which has some very general national statistics but no answers to specific questions about our specific area.

I asked whether there is a specialised team of midwives or unit comparable to that of Queen Charlotte hospital. They answered that there is a consultant obstetrician with a special interest in FGM, otherwise I was referred to a Government General Information leaflet with no specific information to answer my request.

I also asked for figures of deaths of mothers or babies due to complications caused by FGM, and the number of women presenting at the urogenital clinic with problems, as well as details of repair facilities. The final part of my request was for details of women or girls attending A&E as an acute emergency from a recently performed procedure and how many of these resulted in a report to the police.

I got the same answer repeated to all questions, “We cannot answer this request as it is not possible to code a procedure which is likely to have a direct connection to FGM as asked. The fact that a woman has undergone an FGM procedure at some point in her life does not necessarily bear relevance to the condition for which we have treated them or for which they had been admitted”

And repeated several times at intervals “The FGM mandatory reporting duty is a legal requirement provided for in the FGM Act (2003) as amended by the Serious Crime Act (2015). The Trust follows these guidelines.”

What they seem to be saying is that they comply with the guidelines to inform the police, but can’t say how many times they have done it.

Meanwhile one of UKIP’s policies is to introduce screening for FGM among those girls feared to be at risk. This is quite sensible. Schools already screen reception children for height, weight, hearing etc. and woe betide any parent whose child carries a little puppy fat. Surely the threat to health and future well-being that FGM poses to a girl is far more drastic. FGM is a form of child abuse. Teachers and all people working with children are constantly exhorted to be vigilant for child sex abuse. This is a form of abuse and of the sexual organs.

When Ayaan Hirsi Ali was the equivalent of a City Councillor in Amsterdam in the 1990s she put forward proposals for a screening programme2. A copy is attached as Appendix ii.

As she says, this must not be tolerated. It has been a crime in the UK since 1985, and a crime to remove a child to another country for that purpose since 2003. The penalty is up to 14 years in prison. There has been only one prosecution in all that time, a doctor who was acquitted as he was found to be repairing his patient after FGM not performing it. If 90 girls under the age of majority in one year, in one borough, are found to have suffered the process, or be at risk of it, how many cases nationally in the years since 2003?

And not a single substantive prosecution.

It is a scandal and a shame upon a civilised country.

--

1 The Caged Virgin P105

2 Chap 12 Genital Mutilation Must not be Tolerated P126

Appendix i – Figures from LBBD [see attached below]

Appendix ii Copy of Proposals for a screening programme from The Caged Virgin. [see attached below]

Tags: FGM

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Replies to This Discussion

Although I deplore every form of abuse against any woman, I would have every single African and Muslim returned to country of origin. These immigrants bring with them their own culture and never adopt ours, they erode our culture.

Then I would through aid agencies offer protection to women and girls only, in special compounds in their own countries. Every form of aid and assistance has to be removed in relation to countries where FGM flourishes. Unfortunately it is mostly women that are doing the cutting and that believe it is necessary, not that their culture gives them any choice in the matter. Like most other similar problems it is the governments; political and religious leaders that are the only ones that can end the horrific abuse of women in their cultures and countries, and this does not seem likely to happen. It should be at the very top of the UN agenda.

This is not our problem, FGM came with the immigrants and will only end when they are forced to leave. Our first priority has to be the protection of our own women from these savages. We should do everything in our power as human beings to stamp out FGM and other abuses. We can if we want to, but only if we all want to.

but the midwives are unable to prevent Mrs Farah’s younger sister being returned to Somaliland on the orders of her grandmother to be mutilated during the school holidays.

These people should be arrested and all the adults connect to the younger sister too. The feminists and all human rights campaigners should be up in arms about this.  Instead we get only silence and complicity. 

We have imported millions of people from cultures that are incompatible with ours, and if we locked them up for every time they broke our laws we would have to build vast prison complexes. The only solution, and it is never going to happen, is to deport the entire family of every crime-breaker back to country of origin. As we are powerless to stop or punish all of the offences the situation will only worsen until it becomes overwhelming and beyond repair. All of the signs now are that "british" society is going to break down and become a country divided up into criminal ethnic groups in a perpetual state of gang warfare. The worst kind of science-fiction dystopian scenario will become the reality and norm. With corporate billionaires living in ivory towers somewhere else surrounded by heavily armed security.

Instead of using their powers to solve the problems by very practical means, our authorities are using their power to silence criticism and are in denial of reality. They lack imagination, or any sense of history, and do not have the abilty to stand back and assess the situation objectively. Furthermore they lack the courage and determination to enable the harsh and brutal measures necessary to correct the situation.

From the author:

Please reply to Philip thus:-
In my opinion we already have, and have had for several generations, all the legislation necessary to deal with FGM and many other modern ills, like acid attacks. Restricting sale of cleaning materials won’t affect that crime. But proper use of the existing law re ABH/GBH/Attempted murder, administering a noxious substance etc could, given the will. But the political will is lacking.
The current wave of 'ped' crime (groups of thieves on mopeds, targeting pedestrians and motorists) in Dagenham and Havering is another example. The police policy is not to pursue a thief on a moped if he isn't wearing a helmet. Just in case he falls off while fleeing and hurts himself, and sues the police. Again there is a lack of political will to pursue criminals who are frightening decent residents and making their lives a misery.
So we have to question why. As you correctly say our authorities are using their power to silence criticism and are in denial of reality. And I can only conclude that this is deliberate on their part and that is very, very sinister.

It all began in WWII, importing workers from the colonies to replace men taken into the armed forces. Then they were too polite to send them back to the colonies at wars end. It’s like because we had an Empire we are somehow in debt to those that were incorporated into it. This was the beginnings of the white guilt we suffer from now. So when to begin with immigrants began to enter Britain from former Empire countries there was no will to say no or send them back to where they came from. This is also when, thanks to the Nazis, the potency of accusing someone of racism formed.

Debt, guilt and fear of being regarded to be bigoted demolished our ethnic defences.

Now the police are not only are afraid to put a foot wrong, they are also policing themselves ideologically. Thier conception of right and wrong has become warped. As has that of the general population due to idoctrination, also self-imposed, in the educational and political institutions. The police, politicians and ordinary citizens are self-effacing and culturally suicidal, believing that they are in the wrong if they deny any foreigner his rights, they even invent rights, enforced by laws, that give these foreigners greater rights than the British, that per fefinition deserve no better as they have treated the coloured races on this planet so unjustly and stolen their territory and wealth.

We are the wicked imperialistic racists and deny ourselves the right to even exist as a penance for imagined wrongs. In short those that govern your and my world are living in an imaginary dimension where they must flogg themselves for hate-thought and punish any that utter hate-speech. The worst crimes being nationalism and patriotism and love of family.

I do not think that this is deliberate it is a compulsive reaction to massive self-indoctrination where the tenets of diversity are constantly intoned.

I just watched a TV series called The Loch and the final shot was three black men sitting in a boat together with three white women. I interpreted this to be a political message. That if all whites stopped having babies together and mated with non-whites the world would be a better place. The TV writers are constantly projecting their politically impractical beliefs on viewers. Drip after drip relentlessly.

In the biographical video on Enoch Powell, there are several interesting observations on the UK's 'end of empire' actions.

Powell spent all night walking round London after the declaration, because his mind couldn't grasp it in all its significance.

There was a feeling that we were all one big happy family, so just as it would be wrong to deny your kith and kin the family dinner table, it would be wrong to deny the empire's members citizenship of the UK.  However, at that time, everyone, Brit and foreign, thought that very few people would want to leave their country and go live amongst foreigners.  It was axiomatic for everyone, just like Mohammed Ali said to Parkinson, that they'd want to live amongst their own kind.   That belief isn't quite so strong now, however, as Mark Steyn points out, that model totally breaks down when you've exported enough of your own kind to re-create your own self-segregating community in the foreign country.  Then you don't even have to put up with the foreign culture and peoples at all, you bring all your own with you.

Of course another factor was that at that time the welfare state wasn't so far advanced, so coming over to the UK was not the soft option it is now.

These immigrants recreate their own country inside ours, and the differences are equally distinct. Cross the border to a British city district and you actually enter another country.

These people are unwanted, unwelcome and uninvited, they would be better off in their own countries with a culture that they understand. Forget Pax Romana and Pax Britannica, where every inhabitant is a citizen of the Empire. Silly ideas get silly results, tragic results.

I could not imagine myself revisiting my hometown, it would be too painful. There lies the tragedy, it is no longer my own, a place to relive fond memories. But I do remember why I left and why another country seemed alluring, but it is the same everywhere now and I find it dismal.

If we were to repatriate every Pakistani and every Somali, and so on, I would expect them to be gratefull for having been returned to their natural habitats.

I'm sure this comment would get me jailed in Britain and banned from social media.

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