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International Day: Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Event report: An exchange between those affected and employees in the health and counseling sector

Hanover, February 06.02.2020, XNUMX. Genital mutilation of women * and girls * is a massive violation of human rights! On the occasion of February 6th, the international day against genital cutting, the umbrella association of migrant women * organizations (DaMigra eV) organized a technical discussion between affected women *, counseling centers, health care workers and authorities.

Over 200 million girls * and women * worldwide suffer from genital mutilation. An act of violence that, despite criminal prosecution since 2013, is still present in Germany. Within the last three years, the number of women affected in this country has increased by 44%. An estimated 70.000 women * live in the Federal Republic of Germany who had to experience this act of violence. Another 17.500 girls * are considered to be at risk.

DaMigra stands for zero tolerance towards FGM. In cooperation with the self-organization My Body Belongs to Me eV, the Counseling Center Integrationslotsen Cloppenburg eV and kargah eV, DaMigra organized an event on the occasion of the international day. Those affected reported on their experiences with German counseling centers, health services and authorities and then entered into a dialogue with representatives of the same.

Mona Habib Allah and May Ahatta from the association My Body Belongs to Me eV introduced the topic in a short input lecture. Mona Habib Allah emphasized that there are now good suggestions for supporting those affected. However, the specialized advice centers and health centers that function well in individual cities would have to be expanded across the board. Raising the awareness of skilled workers should be part of the training process. In the area of ​​prevention work, there is still a great need for improvement.

Dr. Christian Albring, president of the professional association of gynecologists and member of the chamber assembly of the medical association, noted that the topic of FGM has gained in importance in specialist circles in recent years and that everything humanly possible must be done to educate the medical community. The recommendations published by the German Medical Association in 2016 on how to deal with female patients after female genital mutilation and the opening of two specialized clinics in Germany were a first step, but awareness-raising needs to be expanded further. The competence center for women and girls in genital mutilation (SAIDA) in Leipzig is an example for the whole republic.

Frauke Baller, psychotherapist and member of the round table, makes it clear that the coupling of FGM with the supposed marital ability of women * raises the question of their economic security, livelihood security and equality. The promotion of equality and the economic independence of migrant women * in Germany is therefore an important part of combating the causes and can develop a radiance in the countries of origin and prevent FGM. Ms. Baller would like professionals in the health sector such as gynecologists, midwives and psychologists to take on more responsibility, for example in the form of further training, and sees a great need for professional, sensitized interpreters. The focus should be on networking and cooperation.

Uta Engelhardt, state manager of pro familia Niedersachsen e. V. supported the self-organization of the community, which is part of pro familia's advisory services, especially in rural areas. At the same time, she stated that effective prevention and support work for the women affected requires a supra-regional, comprehensive network of all relevant actors. The sensitization and further training of specialists in the medical and socio-educational field is a resource-intensive task that also requires the immediate provision of funds by politicians.

A protagonist from My Body Belongs to Me eV emphasizes that the self-organization of those affected should not wait for political support, but must act immediately, because every case of FGM is one too many. These shelters are indispensable because they promote the self-help of surviving women * and support them to find and raise their own voice.

Mina Amiry, Managing Director of Integrationslotsen Cloppenburg eV, notes that the long-standing procedures and less sensitive hearing procedures in the context of the recognition of FGM as a reason for asylum can lead to retraumatisation. When it comes to health issues, the paths should be shorter and referrals should work faster.
Finally, all those involved wanted the debate to be continued and an urgent exchange with other actors such as youth welfare offices, paediatricians, teachers and politicians.

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