Gender-based violence comes in all shapes and forms. Through seemingly small acts, to harmful violent ones. Gender-based violence has its roots in the normalization and naturalization of beliefs, customs and practices. Such is the case harmful practices, unfortunately still present today. Harmful practices cover forms of violence or ritual discrimination, primarily committed against girls and women, that have become culturally normalized. They are violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (Equalitynow, 2021)
Among these, exists Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a practice rooted in the traditions and cultures in some parts of the world, unchanged for centuries, still present and hidden by a veil of confidentiality. FGM comprises all procedures involving the removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Mostly, FGM is practiced on girls and young women under 18. FGM is not prescribed by any religion and has no health benefits. On the contrary the practice can cause life-lasting physical and psychological trauma (endFGM, 2022).
Female Genital Mutilation is practiced in about 30 countries around the world, mainly concentrated on the African continent but as a result of migratory phenomena, cases are also observed in Europe. 250 million women worldwide have already undergone such operations and 3 million girls are at risk every year (UNHCR 2018). Estimates reveal that the number of foreign women with genital mutilation in Italy is about 88,000, of which over 50% come from Nigeria and Egypt (EIGE, 2018).
Currently, this practice has risen to prominence above all because of the serious complications observed in women who have suffered this type of violence, thus bringing out a completely new problem, with which we will increasingly have to confront.
Ending FGM has been prioritized as a global effort under UN Sustainable Development Goals. At European Union level, there are key tools that contribute strongly to putting an end to the harmful practice of FGM in Europe and beyond. The endFGM European Network works to ensure that policy, decision makers and other EU stakeholders continue to increase their engagement in ending FGM.
At CESIE we also work to increase understanding and awareness on FGM and ways to tackle it and we take part of the European campaign to end FGM, promoted by the endFGM European network.
Eliminating gender-based violence and FGM will take all of us.
Let’s all step up #BehindEndingFGM.
Follow the campaign at #BehindEndingFGM @endfgmeuropeannetwork