ICM President's statement on FGM Day
International Day for Zero Tolerance Against Female Genital Mutulation
6 February 2018
Statement from Franka Cadée, President – International Confederation of Midwives
When girls are diminished, objectified and harmed, there is a grave injustice that needs correction. When girls are maimed, it transcends injustice: it is a cruel violation that cannot continue.
Today, on the International Day for Zero Tolerance Against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), we must be unflinching and unforgiving of this practice. Every new born child that comes into this world is welcome for whom he or she is. For over 200 million girls and women around the world, FGM is the first instance in which the inviolable sanctity of her own body is violated, and we need to come together to put a stop to such violations.
The mutilation of a girl’s sexual organs extends far beyond the trauma of the act itself. Physically, it places her at high risk of infection, chronic pain, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and this is despite the fact that FGM has absolutely no medical benefit. From a psycological perspective, through FGM, a girl learns that her body is not her own – she is subjected to a dangerous and traumatic act on the say-so of adults, and for no reason that can justify the practice.
The International Confederation of Midwives condemns FGM as a harmful practice and a violation of the human rights of all girls and women. However, our outrage is not enough. We must work in partnership with community leaders and health practitioners to educate all people on the harms of FGM and promote a cultural shift away from it. Midwives are instrumental in enabling this transition, and must be supported to provide appropriate sexual and reproductive health support for women and their families to increasingly sensitise people to the danger of FGM, as well as provide compassionate care to those whom have survived it.
This day is about ending silence. It is about harnessing the power of information to create change. We as midwives pledge to continue to place the wellbeing of girls and women at the core of our work, championing human rights and dignity and fighting to end such senseless violence.