SWEDEN. It’s believed that there’s 38 000 girls and women in Sweden who have suffered FGM. And more and more of them are asking for help.
At Söderhospital (Södersjukhuset) in Stockholm they have seen an increase in the amount of women who want their help by 80% in the last two years. They started their clinic, called the Amel clinic, in 2003 and since then the number of patients have increased by 2 000%. Their youngest patient was only five years old.
But Birgitta Essén, Professor of maternal health services, says in an interview with SVT, that people should stop exaggerating the long term complications from FGM. Her research has shown that things aren’t so bad after all, but I can’t find any articles by her to read about this. At the same time she talks about how the Academic Hospital in Uppsala where she works has performed hundreds of surgeries to open up the women to make it easier for them to give birth. Being forced to surgery to give birth sounds like a pretty severe complication to me and why even seek help if everything is ok.
SVT doesn’t mention anywhere in their articles that FGM are connected to Islam (1, 2, 3). Instead they write and talk about culture and it’s partly true. It’s believed that the practice originated in Northern Africa. It spread to, among other places, the Arabian Peninsula where Muhammeds culture picked it up and he made it a part of Islam. The religion implemented the practice where it spread. In some parts of Africa it’s culture, but the majority of the victims are Muslims. And other cultures in Muslim areas have picked it up.
On the bright side: the strategy to combat FGM which have proved most successful is to educate men about it. They use the knowledge to influence their wife and the men as a group change the overall attitude towards FGM which lessens the social pressure and stigma. That awful toxic masculinity!