Target: University College London Hospitals’ Dr. Deborah Hodes and Professor Sarah Creighton
Goal: Applaud opening of clinic to offer services to girls at risk for, or suffering from, female genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the practice of scarring, sewing up, injuring, or removing part or all of the female genitalia. FGM is a pseudo-religious or cultural practice forced upon girls aged four to 14 for the purpose of preserving their chastity and virginity, mainly in northern African countries and some Muslim communities. Girls are still being forced under the knife despite the fact that FGM is illegal in many countries (and banned by the United Nations), including the United States and the United Kingdom. A recent study by Equality Now and the City University London indicates that 137,000 females living in England and Wales have been victims of FGM, and that 60,000 girls have been born to mothers who were victims themselves.
In light of this information, Dr. Deborah Hodes and Professor Sarah Creighton of University College London Hospitals (UCLH) have teamed up to provide psychological and medical attention for girls 18 and under who are suffering from or at risk for FGM. Many parents who perform FGM as a cultural ritual—especially without proper, sanitary medical tools—often do not know that it may lead to decreased sexual stimulation as well as infections, which can cause problems with giving birth (as a result of scar tissue), sterilization, or even death.
The UCLH clinic is the first of its kind in London, and represents a huge step forward in ending FGM suffering. As Dr. Hodes noted in a press release about the new clinic, “We’re determined to work closely with our partners in local community, social care and the police to help end FGM. We can’t put back what’s been done, but we can improve girls’ lives and prevent FGM happening to others by spreading greater awareness of it.”
By signing this petition, you are thanking Dr. Hodes and Professor Creighton for dedicating their time and expertise to caring for victims of FGM and preventing further suffering.
Dear Dr. Hodes and Professor Creighton,
I am celebrating the opening of your new clinic to help girls suffering from, or at risk for, female genital mutilation. I hope your clinic and educational efforts can help change the lives of many of the United Kingdom’s girls by showing their communities that this cultural practice is not worth the risks to girls’ health.
Thank you for working toward a comprehensive plan for combating the shocking prevalence of FGM. Thank you for committing your time and expertise to helping girls who may suffer or be at risk due to the persistence of FGM as a cultural institution shrouded in a lack of information.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: UK Department for International Development via Flickr