Please help me, I don't want to be cut like my sister: Heartbreaking letter from desperate 11-year-old girl who learns her sister's genitals were mutilated by an aunt
- The girl sent the letter to charity Equality Now who published the letter
- The charity hopes to alert teachers to the importance of reporting suspicions of FGM to the authorities
- An estimated 24,000 girls in the UK are at risk, according to Equality Now
By SARA MALM
Cry for help: A letter from an 11-year-old telling of her fears at having her 'private cut' has been published by campaigners against female genital mutilation (file picture)
A heart-breaking letter from an 11-year-old girl begging for a charity for help to avoid female genital mutilation reveals the very real threat for many girls in the UK.
The girl’s cry for help was prompted by her discovery that her 12-year-old sister had been taken to her grandmother’s home in Gambia, west Africa for the procedure.
'I really hope you can help me, not to have my private cut,' she writes after discovering her sister's horrific fate.
The letter, sent in 2010, was today published by campaigners in a bid to alert teachers to the importance of reporting suspicions of female genital mutilation (FGM) to the authorities.
In the letter to charity Equality Now, the 11-year-old girl says her sister ‘had her private cut’ by her aunties and grandmother in their native Gambia.
She explains how her mother, sisters and brothers came to the UK from west Africa in 2005 to join her father who was studying at university in the UK.
Five years later, as the family was watching a ‘TV programme on African culture showing girls having their privates cut’, she describes how her sister suddenly burst into tears and a few days later told their father what had happened.
‘She said it was done one weekend by my aunties at my nans house. Last Friday mum took her to our GP to have her checked and the doctor said it was done to her.’
According to the 11-year-old’s letter, the older sister had been told ‘the spirits will come and kill her immediately’ if she spoke of the procedure.
The little girl got in touch with the charity after telling one of her school teachers, who directed her to Equality Now.
‘Please madam help me, and my dad,’ she begs. ‘I really hope you can help me, not to have my private cut.’
‘I am reallye confused expessically seeing my dad so un-happy and not knowing what to do.(sic)’
After they received the letter in 2010, the charity contacted police and the girl is now believed to be safe.
No prosecution has been brought but this is believed to be due to the perpetrators, the girl’s aunts and grandmother, being overseas at the time police were alerted, and difficulty obtaining evidence.
Heartbreaking letter: 'Please madam help me, and my dad,' she begs. 'I really hope you can help me, not to have my private cut'
‘Practising communities think that the UK doesn’t have the guts to prevent and prosecute for FGM,’ Efua Dorkenoo, director of Equality Now’s campaign against FGM, told the Evening Standard.
‘The key reasons for the lack of prosecutions are the young age of those involved and the fact that FGM is a hidden practice within families and affected communities.’
Following the revelation in her letter that her teacher advised her to contact the charity instead of reporting the incident, Efua Dorkenoo, director of Equality Now’s campaign against FGM, warned teachers that they must alert authorities if a child displays any indication of having fallen victim of female genital mutilation.
‘If (teachers) and other frontline professionals do this, we will get prosecutions and come closer to ending this horrific abuse,’ Ms Dorkenoo added.
Female gender mutilation was made illegal in 1985 in the UK but Equality Now estimates that 24,000 girls in the UK are at risk.
THE LETTER SENT BY GIRL, 11, WHO FEARED SHE BE CUT LIKE HER SISTER
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288530/FGM-Heartbreaking-letter-desperate-11-year-old-girl-learns-sisters-genitals-mutilated-aunt.html#ixzz2Ml3U3l5W
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