Cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) have increased in Germany, largely due to migrants who practice the tradition. There are said to have been over 35,000 cases recently.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a 5,000 year old practice that is mainly performed in countries in Africa and the Middle East. Due to the large influx of migrants from these areas the German government is now finding that they will have to tackle the issue with reports of tens of thousands of cases, Die Welt reports.
FGM is a worldwide crisis that sees young girls’ genitals partially removed at a rate of one girl every 11 seconds. While Europe for the most part has never had to deal with large scale cases of FGM, the migrant crisis may be changing that.
According to Terre des Femmes, cases in Germany have already reached 35,000 and although this is small compared to the estimated 140 million young girls and women who are subjected to the procedure, they say the trend in Germany is growing rapidly.
Hamburg social worker Gwlayds Awo is spearheading a fight against FGM in Germany. Ms. Awo said that the African community in Germany sees push back on FGM from the German government as an affront to their culture. According to Ms. Awo, Africans believe a simplified narrative that Europeans have destroyed their home continent of Africa and stolen its resources; so opposition to FGM is simply another attack on them.
This sentiment echoes comments from a UK lecturer at Goldsmiths University who said: “We will reform the condition of our women, but we’ll do it once we’ve got independence. It is not for the colonizers to tell us how we should be treating our women.”
Ms. Awo says that FGM needs to be abolished as soon as possible and the only way to go about doing it is to make sure migrants are integrated into German society and taught that the practice is cruel and wrong, rather than have them hang on to the procedure simply for the sake of cultural reasons.
While some have argued that FGM is part of cultural identity, others have outright supported the practice maintaining there are health benefits.