February 15, 2010
By Elizabeth Pears - Haringey Independent
YOUNG African women will screen a film in Tottenham on Friday to break the silence about female genital mutilation.
The Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development (Forward), a charity promoting women's rights, worked with the young women to create a film called Think Again, in partnership with the Haringey African Women's Welfare Group.
It follows one 11-year-old's struggle between family honour and the facts of female circumcision after learning that her mother wants her to undergo the procedure.
It also helps to answer why it still exists in the 21st Century and sheds light on the physical and psychological impact it can have.
The cultural practice, most prevalent in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Egypt, involves partial, or total removal, of female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
With 24,000 girls at high risk in the UK, critics are calling for more awareness about the custom which can cause serious health concerns and make sexual intercourse painful.
According to the Haringey domestic and gender based violence strategy 2008-2012, there are no definite figures of how many Haringey residents are at risk, but some schools have reported female pupils being taken abroad in the summer to undergo the procedure.
Even the local health authority, NHS Haringey, said it did not record that type of information.
Up to 20 young women aged between 11 and 23 participated in the five-month Young People Speak Out project to educate their peers and their community to abandon the practice.
As well as tackling a difficult issue, the young women also developed skills in acting, filming, editing, event management and campaigning.
The film will be aired on Friday, February 19, between 6pm and 9pm at the Haringey Irish Cultural and Community Centre, in Pretoria Road, and will include a presentation, poetry performances, a question-and-answer session and a cultural dance performance.
Think Again will be used as part of Forward's schools programme.