Excerpt:

The Guardian's campaign has put female genital mutilation firmly on the political agenda, with Michael Gove, Ban Ki-Moon and Malala Yousafzai throwing their weight behind it. I am heartened that the physical autonomy of young African and Asian girls is being taken seriously, and I hope that concrete assistance will be given to those at risk: the physical, psychological and social harm of FGM fails women, and whatever justifications kept it alive for millennia, have no weight against the idea that a child's body is perfect and healthy the way it is made.

However, the sudden, intense focus on a practice that very few people follow in Britain – and the lack of clarity on who is doing it, where and why – has allowed negative stereotypes to run amok.

I was raised in Britain within a Somali family and, within my understanding, the vast majority of Somali families who settle here abandon FGM. The strong societal pressures in east Africa do not apply here, and there isn't a framework of experienced and easily accessible "cutters".


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