In The Media & Newsletter » Letter on FGM cases from Margot Parker MEP
To The Editor,
This shocking statistic from Plan International shows just how widespread this horrific practice has become in our country.
Of course, exact figures of European-resident girls and women who have undergone FGM, or are in danger of having it imposed upon them, are difficult to come by due to the secrecy of the practice and the closed nature of many immigrant communities.
We must do more to stop this barbarism - education is a passive, long term solution. While it should most certainly be part of the action we take, we need to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who acts to harm a girl or woman in this way, or indeed anyone who acts to make it possible.
The French have had legislation against FGM for years and right from the start there were successful prosecutions - that we in the UK have yet to see one is completely nonsensical and utterly pathetic.
We also need to set up better support networks for survivors of this crime as well as make the availability of support and protection for those at risk very clear to everyone who might become a victim of it. If that means taking a more assertive stance with closed immigrant communities, then so be it.
The message needs to be communicated at schools, mosques, community centres and every other possible venue regardless of concerns about offending someone's 'culture'. If that means going door to door with the information to make sure it is received and understood, we should be prepared to do that too.
Margot Parker, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands and spokesman for Women and Equalities
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