A group of 50 female genital mutilation (FGM) survivors of a particular community Saturday launched a month-long campaign in Mumbai to sensitise the people about the gruesome practice.
The advocacy group known as ‘Speak Out on FGM’ launched the campaign ‘Each One Reach One’ on the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, in tandem with an online petition they had initiated on website Change.org in a bid to reach out to the global audience on the issue.
Till this morning, the group claimed to have received over 45,000 signatures in support of the online petition.
Sahiyo, an NGO that brings together survivors of FGM and other supporters, is partnering with ‘Speak Out on FGM’ in this awareness campaign.
Preethi Herman, Country Lead, Change.org said, “This hushed up cultural practice is no longer hidden because these brave women decided to open up about their experiences and have already got almost 50,000 people supporting them.”
Explaining the regressive ritual that she underwent at a tender age, a survivor from Mumbai said, “At seven, I was subjected to FGM in Mumbai in an unhygienic condition and in a clandestine manner. The shock, the physical and psychological trauma of that day is still fresh in my mind.”
She said that the motto of the campaign is to wipe out this custom from the community.
“I am happy that thousands of survivors are joining this campaign not only from India, but also from Canada, Australia, South Africa, Britain etc,” she said.
Another survivor from Delhi said, “There are over 50 women in our group who have survived FGM. Each one of us will reach out to a member of the community to share stories about this ancient practice. This month-long awareness campaign can be done in person or digitally.”
‘Each One, Reach One’ campaign will reach out to men and women alike and share experiences openly and expects to engage more people to break their silence on FGM, she said.
Female genital mutilation refers to several harmful practices involving the cutting of the female genitals for non-medical reasons.
In December 2012, the UN General Assembly unanimously voted to work for the elimination of FGM, reckoned as a violation of human rights.
Survivors maintained the reason for the tradition of FGM was to curb sexual drive of women and control them. They claimed FGM has nothing to do with religion and is more of a cultural practice.
According to the World Health Organisation, between 100 to 140 million women and girls across the world are thought to be living with the consequences of FGM.