Community update on FGM work

Some of the findings from our FGM project, MY Voice, were shared at a community event in Edinburgh recently.

The research project is working with communities affected by FGM to support them to challenge and prevent the practice.

FGM refers to a range of procedures that intentionally alter female genital organs where there is no medical need. The issue is particularly relevant to the work of our African Health Project, where it is discussed as part of conversations we initiate around sexual health and HIV.

The event, at McDonald Road Library, brought together 35 women and men who have been involved in the research to share their views on the impact it is having.

Participants spoke about their experiences of talking to community groups about FGM, and the increased confidence this gave them in challenging the continued justification of the practice in some cultures.

In practising cultures, FGM is often viewed as a necessary part of raising young women, closely tied to sexuality, morality and modesty. However, the practice is illegal in Scotland and considered to be a particularly extreme form of child abuse and violence against women. Ideas emerged at the event around how reporting mechanisms might become more effective to encourage people to come forward.

Alongside updates on the work of the project, the event was an opportunity to raise awareness around FGM. We were joined on the day by speakers from NHS Lothian and Police Scotland who spoke about the various health and legal issues associated with FGM, and there was an opportunity for people to ask questions.

Many participants have confirmed their interest in having continuing involvement with MY Voice as researchers and volunteers. You can find out more about the work of the project here.