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HomeNewsMark Ellse: FGM should be shown in its full, gory horror

Mark Ellse: FGM should be shown in its full, gory horror


Gender parity and, almost an afterthought, FGM was the summary of the House of Commons motion under debate for International Women’s Day last week. We shall hear more of the phrase ‘gender parity’. It elegantly summarises the feminist line – that women and men are, for all significant puposes, identical and should follow identical lives.

The Commons debate lamented the lack of female MPs, entrepreneurs and engineers but there were fewer voices for more female bricklayers, refuse collectors or, for that matter, more male school dinner people.

In the discussions about female genital mutilation (FGM) a ray of light shone through. Tania Mathias, MP for Twickenham, spoke eloquently of the need for honest and open treatment of a horrendous and distasteful subject:

“What more can we do? Having read the motion, I believe that we should not hide behind letters and acronyms; we should call it female genital mutilation. The Home Office online training has clinical diagrams, but they hide the absolute barbarity of the crime. The training should include images of it, however appalling they might be.”

Absolutely right. How can we, as a society, possibly show integrity if we take every opportunity to conceal the truth of what is happening? Openness is a sign of civilisation. We must shine light into those areas of darkness in which evil is perpetrated.

The same is true of abortion, of course. Even if one is ‘pro choice’ that is no excuse for cloaking the whole process of abortion in darkness. Like with female genital mutilation, abortion is a matter in which the truth of what is going on is only fully comprehended when we ‘include images’. Otherwise we may continue to ‘hide the absolute barbarity’ of what we are doing.

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Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse is a physicist and author. He is a former headmaster, independent school inspector and A level chief examiner.

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