At long last, someone has been convicted in Britain of female genital mutilation (FGM), a crime that has been on the statute book since 1985. A Ugandan woman was found guilty last week of mutilating the private parts of her three-year-old daughter.
Although tens of thousands of such atrocities are said to have taken place in Britain, only three other prosecutions have been brought, all of which ended in acquittal.
There is said to be great reluctance to report this practice within communities which ostracise whistleblowers. That, though, is not the only reason for the failure to prosecute. According to barrister Charlotte Proudman, much anecdotal data suggests that FGM is now being performed on babies, which makes it even more difficult to detect. “People are concerned about cultural sensitivities, worried about being branded racist and it’s being performed on a very private area,” she said.
This is just one more example of how timidity about “cultural sensitivities” is facilitating the growth of unconscionable and un-British practices. Last week, an Ofsted official told the Commons women and equalities select committee that Birmingham’s Al-Hijrah Islamic school enforced “very strict gender segregation… denying girls the opportunity to have their lunch until the boys had had theirs”. The school also possessed texts encouraging violence against women.
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