Female genital mutilation is hurting Australian girls and we must work together to stamp it out


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By agencies working together, we can prevent female genital mutilation, which new research confirms is happening in Australia.
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Elizabeth Elliott, University of Sydney and Yvonne Zurynski, University of Sydney

Female genital mutilation or cutting is largely hidden in Australia and other high-income countries. Most people don’t consider it a major issue. But our research shows it should be.

Our research found girls are presenting to paediatricians in Australia with female genital mutilation, but misconceptions about the practice are common and doctors want more information on how to manage this illegal practice.

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We must save our little girls

Ethnic Council of Shepparton community development officer Thon Thon and project worker Betul Tuna want to end female genital mutilation. The Ethnic Council of Shepparton is leading the way in protecting girls from genital mutilation.

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Female genital mutilation survivors Khadija Gbla and Amal Kowhah campaign against practice

WHAT do you remember from when you were five — your first day at school, playing or having stories read? For Amal Kowhah, memories are stained with pain. It was at the age of five that, like so many other girls raised in cultures where so-called “female circumcision” is practised, her body was scarred by cruel cuts.

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Refugee Week Movie: Desert Flower



Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad is an autobiographical book written by Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller, published in 1998 about the life of Somali model, Waris Dirie. In 2009, a german movie adapation was made. This movie will be screened free during Refugee Week 2016, and is sponsored by the Greater Shepparton Women’s Charter Alliance Advisory Committee.

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FGM – The Cruellest Cut

Fatu Sillah clearly recalls the day her childhood ended. She was six years old when her mother’s friends invited her to a party with girls from her village near Freetown in Sierra Leone.

“When I got there I saw other girls sitting on the ground crying and I remember the overwhelming smell of a traditional African medicine used to heal wounds. I was taken into the backroom, stripped naked and held down on the ground by six women. I saw the cutter with a small, sharp knife. She said: ‘It will be quick and it won’t hurt that much.’ “

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