Summer is the season of laidback holidays and pleasurable family time for most, but for some young girls this vacation is a turning point as they are expected to undergo a cut that can leave them scarred for life. Female genital mutilation is a centuries-old practice that continues today despite its recognition as a human rights violation. In the United Kingdom alone, up to 2,000 schoolgirls are expected to be subjected to FGM during the holiday season. Overall in Europe, an estimated 500,000 girls and women live with the physical and psychological after-effects that include infections, trauma and complications during childbirth.
Earlier this month, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for joint action to combat violence against women and adequate funding to reflect the prioritisation of this human rights concern. But the European Commission promised a strategy to address this violence in 2010. While the European Union acknowledges the need to end FGM, promises have not been followed by action. So how can we end this deeply entrenched practice?