Let me put a disclaimer out there: Amnesty International’s (website, Twitter) campaigns have always been among my favourites. I’ve been a follower and an admirer for years and every time I think that the visual imagery of a campaign has taken the biscuit (for creativity, ingenuity, use of colour etc), I stumble across another campaign that leaves me wondering what it is that makes Amnesty’s efforts so fantastic.
The current mention of female genitalia mutilation (FGM) in the UK media brings the issue back to the forefront (not that it had ever been forgotten, of course).
An article on the BBC just yesterday reminds us that female circumcision has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 1985 (by means of this Act), but it is understood that the practice still goes on behind closed doors, especially in some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities.
The below advert says that 2 million girls are affected annually. According to other reports by Amnesty the figure could be up to 3 million affected girls in around 30 countries.
Female genitalia mutilation in young girls is child abuse. It is also a major infringement of a woman’s human rights.
In its work to fight any kind of child abuse, the NSPCC (website, Twitter) has launched a helpline that provides help and advice about FGM. The number to dial is 0800 028 3550 and the email support address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Harker, Head of Strategy at the NSPCC, said to the BBC:
We want this helpline to be a safe space for families who are against their daughter having female genital mutilation but feel powerless to stop it.
The procedure is generally carried out by personnel with no, or very limited, medical background. FGM often takes place in unhygienic and unsanitary environments and without administering anaesthetic to the girl undergoing this risky procedure.
Offenders found guilty of practicing FGM in the UK face up to 14 years in prison.