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Cristina Ollagnier – WNN SOAPBOX

Stop FGM street sign Gambia

A Stop Female Genital Mutilation street sign with a local phone number to call if someone needs help in Bakau New Town, Gambia placed by the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices, shows the grass roots movement to stop FGM inside the region. Now people in Europe and beyond are being challenged to talk about the problem with FGM in their own back yard. Image: AI

(WNN) Strasbourg, FRANCE: I’ve known about the supreme abomination concerning female genital mutilation for over 20 years now. Still, the subject is rarely visible in the media world.

There are only a handful (poor) associations who fight and inform against it, and despite some African countries to have forbidden it, it is still largely practiced in impunity. I have for example researched for hours on the UNICEF site about their actions against it, none found! Clearly, there is still no “lobby” or global movement active addressing this atrocity.

Avaaz did not address one petition against it either, despite the fact I asked for it two years ago…

Why is this still a huge taboo even in our western societies, and why does nobody support the few people and organizations who try to inform, prevent and help about it.

And why is the UN addressing this problem only now, publishing percentages of 85 percent FGM in several African and Arabic countries?

Clearly there ARE hidden barriers which have been built since a long time, and are still very powerful.

Who are the real “hidden enemies” against women’s rights who still build those barriers? What can one do about it if there’s never a petition or fundraising campaign visible? Who feels really concerned about the problem? Who does NOT minimize it’s extent? Who doesn’t say, it doesn’t happen in our land, or there are only “isolated cases,” or “there is nothing one can do about it,” or “we cannot force people to stop it”?

Who is conscious of the massive lifelong altering caused to the body AND the soul?

Waris Dirie said: “It’s a lifelong torture.” Victims say: it’s a permanent rape. Doctors say: one of [fill in the blank] women is sterile, one of [fill in the blank] women dies while giving birth, dies during this unbearable torture, or shortly after.

Surprisingly they say nothing about the psychological – and spiritual – consequences.

But who has seen the film “Desert Flower“? Who feels concerned? I’m feeling concerned.


Cristina Ollagnier is a cyber activist working to stop all injustice against women worldwide. She is based in Strasbourg, France.


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