At today’s FGM Zero Tolerance Conference organised by the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality it was striking how determined and united everyone was to end FGM.
I know that many people across Reading also want to help end this awful practice. We identified several ways that people can help.
Firstly, don’t stay silent. This is an issue for our whole community – whatever your ethnic background and whether you are a woman or a man. Breaking the silence and the taboo is absolutely key to ending this in a generation. The aim must be that this is a practice that in a few years our girls learn about as being part of history not a lived reality for some of them.
As well as speaking out it’s also important to listen – particularly when it is survivors who speak out, listen to them. The first time I listened to the testimony of a survivor I nearly fainted, but it’s vital that their voices are heard and we don’t turn away.
The third way you can help is by supporting the work of the Rose Clinic. This centre works to tackle FGM by education and medical advice and export advice and support for survivors. Based on the Oxford Road it’s been a labour of love for ACRE and particularly Utilivu women’s group. There’ll a walk of solidarity on 2nd March at 10am where we’ll be sharing solidarity and stories – both women and men are welcome. If you aren’t able to join us please do sponsor us