“Just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
Chester Bennington sang these very words in front of his thousands of fans referring to his long term deep depression. But why is it relevant in this article?
Even though the two issues seem so far apart, depression and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are both invisible scars that deeply change one’s self-perception and their willingness to get on with their lives. In a lot of cases, FGM will lead to depression itself, for the physical and psychological trauma it brings to its victim.
What is it?
FGM is carried out in secret and often without anaesthetic, involving the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Victims are usually girls aged between four and ten (but some are babies), and it can leave them in agony and with physical and psychological problems that is likely to continue into adulthood.
Unfortunately, research released in 2015 carried out by City University of London found that there is no local Authority in England and Wales free from it, which means Richmond too. It showed that on average 2.9 in every 1000 women in Kingston had experienced it, making it the lowest rate in the whole of London, but still considerably higher than the national average.
Last year, the NSPCC FGM hotline was contacted hundreds of times, and on average more than once a day, by people worried about women and girls who may have suffered, or be at risk from, female genital mutilation.
FGM is a violent form of child abuse and has been illegal in the UK for over 30 years, however, it is still affecting hundreds of women and girls.
If you’re concerned that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM, you can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisor on 0800 028 3550 or email email@example.com.
Reasons people contact the helpline include:
- Concerns over a child that they believe is at risk of FGM
- Questions about what support there is in terms of prevention and awareness of FGM
- Looking for resources to discuss the practice or raise awareness
- They were a victim of FGM when they were younger and now have concerns
In the UK, the Home Office has identified girls from the Somali, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Sierra Leonean, Egyptian, Eritrean, and Gambia at most risk of FGM.
Children can call Childline 24/7 on 0800 1111. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, dial the emergency services on 999.