#Endfgm trends on Twitter, calling for the eradication of a terrible practice

endfgm trending on twitter screen shot 2015 08 05 at 5 51 07 pm
An age-old tradition may finally be nearing its long-overdue end. Thanks to a global movement that has been spearheaded largely by social media, female genital mutilation (FGM) will (hopefully) soon be a historical practice, rather than a contemporary one. On Wednesday, the hashtag #Endfgm trended on Twitter, with global users celebrating the recent announcement by Somali Minister of Women’s Human Rights Sahro Samatar to raise awareness surrounding the horrors of FGM, and ultimately ban the procedure altogether. At a Mogadishu conference, Samatar stated, “Time has come for us to eradicate this bad practice and protect the rights of girls and women in our country.” According to a Unicef study, it is estimated that some 98 percent of Somali women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been victims of the horrific practice.

Today, under the revised version of Somalia’s constitution, FGM is considered “torture,” and a recent article published on news.com.au describes just how inhumane the process is. Every June becomes “cutting season” for young women, and despite the common misconception that FGM only happens in parts of Africa, this latest report shows that thousands of women across the U.K. undergo the trauma.

As per the Equality Now study, “an estimated 137,000 women and girls with FGM … were permanently resident in England and Wales in 2011. This represented a prevalence rate of 4.8 per 1,000 population.” These young women are often sent back to various parts of Africa where the FGM takes place, “never to return the same again.”

The problem is that in some countries, while the practice within borders is banned, there are no laws against taking a young woman elsewhere to complete the procedure. While Australia recently closed this loophole and increased the punishment associated with the practice, the prevalence of FGM remains far too high.

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