Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Reader’s comment: Why we are stymied


In response to Laurence Hodge: Turning a blind eye to FGM, Groan wrote:

I’ve done the training programme for all public servants (including the NHS) twice. Having done that the reasons for the almost complete lack of arrests or prosecutions are very clear.

a. The procedures almost invariably occur in the countries of origin, this fact is why the 2003 Act was introduced.

b. In what are highly sex-segregated cultures, getting serious about it would result in arrests of women, most likely mothers and aunts taking girls ‘home’. This is the pattern in the USA for instance. I suspect no one here is keen to have a parade of mums and aunties in courts, particularly as the official policy is to reduce the female prison population by not prosecuting or letting women off.

c. Following from point b. The concern to treat it as a ‘gendered crime’ (done by nasty men to women) has resulted in cases even the judges have labelled suspect, including a male surgeon who the woman herself thanked for his effort to repair tears from a difficult birth and a male taxi driver who supposedly mentioned it to an ‘activist’.

So we are completely stymied by our two favourite ‘isms’. Feminism, because to take action against FGM from societies where it’s considered ‘women’s business’ means taking action against women. And multiculturalism, or more particularly our concern to appease Islamic cultures and not stir up ‘hate’. While these two hold sway I expect the long-running failure to continue despite the huge public resources in special units, mandatory training etc, devoted to the appearance of ‘doing something’.

I can assure you the police and CPS are desperate to have ‘successful’ cases to trumpet (not least because many forces have special units etc devoted to this issue). However their search for a suitable criminal – a pale male rather than the most likely, a brown female relative – has resulted in four farcical cases in 30 years. The US has had a bit more success but it appears able to deal with the fact that perpetrators can be female.

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