The Sunday Times today is running one of its periodic ‘investigations’. This is why they are behind a paywall apparently. The subject is the emotive one (to the feministas -some of whom may well be male) of female genital mutilation.
Quite why we should be more hysterical about female genital circumcision than male genital circumcision escapes me, but we are. One is a religious practice, one a cultural practice. Both are carried out by practitioners on behalf of parents in the belief that ‘it will be better for the child in the future’. One is accorded respect, one derision. One carried out on male children, one on female. Pick your own dividing line between the two if you must, I can’t.
I was intrigued by the statement that ‘as many as 100,000 women have undergone female genital mutilations with medics in the UK offering to carry out the illegal procedure on girls as young as 10‘. (I’ll give you a link to its sub-reporting in The Telegraph since the Times is behind a paywall).
Since the Sunday Times was offering covertly filmed evidence of ‘a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner’ who was offering to carry out this operation for them, that sentence was particularly relevant. It gave the impression that there was a network of such practitioners who had carried out that number of female circumcisions in Britain. Yet according to the Forward charity, whose speciality this is, there are a mere 100,000 women in Britain who have either had this operation carried out – long before they came to Britain, or in Britain – or are ‘at risk‘ – i.e. they belong to the Somalian or Sudanese community who are the prime exponents of this dark art. That is a substantial difference. The figures aren’t broken down any more than that; they could comprise two women who have been circumcised and 99,998 female members of a community that approves of this practice, for all we know.
The Metropolitan Police, who cover London, an area where the Sunday Times tells us that ’6,000 girls in London are at risk of this ‘potentially fatal’ operation (all operations are potentially fatal!) say they have received 166 phone calls from people who ‘believe that they may be at risk’ – quite how that evidence gets extrapolated into ’6,000 at risk’ defeats me.
The fact that The Sunday Times could find medical practitioners from that community ‘who were prepared to’ carry out this operation doesn’t impress me either – I’ll wager that there are people in every expatriate community who are ‘prepared to’ commit all sorts of crimes under the law in their new abode which are accepted practice ‘back home’. Competition Carp for Polish Christmas dinners and alcohol for thirsty British construction workers in Saudi Arabia come to mind. Not quite on the same level of severity I’ll grant you but the principle is the same.
Forward, the charity who have helped with this story, received half a million quid last year. A fair chunk of it from the Home Office, Local Councils, and NHS Trusts. Money formally the property of taxpayers. I really don’t understand why.
I can understand the argument that female circumcision is to be deplored, and is rightly a criminal offence in Britain. Personally I think all operations on children at the behest of their parents wishes should be illegal. Regardless of whether they wish them to be fatter, thinner, taller, shorter, circumcised or not circumcised. Let them make their own mind up when they are older.
What I don’t understand is how money from the taxpayer is going to stop this happening. Forward can print 50 million leaflets saying ‘we don’t do this sort of thing in Britain’ and it will no more stop the beliefs and wishes of parents from the Sudan or Somalia from thinking it the right thing to do than 50 million leaflets in Mecca saying ‘we don’t drink alcohol’. Nor will it stop those who believe they have a God given right to carry out such operations.
If the Police are advised that such a illegal circumcision has been carried out, they should investigate and prosecute, as with any grievous bodily harm offence. In the meantime, we should shut up and cut out the constant guilt inducing charity mugging.
I had never watched daytime television until I was marooned on the sofa for several months last year – heavy objects had to be removed from round me, for I swear one more advertisement for ‘girls as young as 12 are forced into marriage’ – in which country? Is marriage legal at that age in that country? If it is, what the Hell has it got to do with us? Followed by an appeal for £2 a week or £3 a month or whatever figure the latest focus group had said they were likely to get out of viewers – and a boot would have gone through the TV.
We are being assailed on all sides by a requirement of guilt, guilt for being British, guilt for being white, guilt for ‘not understanding’, guilt for ‘not doing something’ – like giving money to yet another charity for things which really have nothing to do with us.
Just consider for a moment, a fictitious charity set up in China, collecting money for British girls ‘forced to lie dead drunk in the gutter every Friday night’ – how many leaflets would they have to print, how many ‘out-reach workers’ would they have to employ, how many grant forms to fill out, how many conferences to hold, how many academic papers to write, before they convinced even one British girl to stop doing it on the grounds that ‘we don’t do that in China’?
People are different. The British have some pretty disgusting habits of their own.
Anybody know how many people are employed in the Charitable sector? Feeding stories to the newspapers that we pay £2 for?
Ex-Sunday Times Reader.