Our first FREDA ‘Learning Together’ Event in June 2015 was an opportunity to share the work of FREDA and to think about the FREDA Standards in relation to a particularly challenging issue, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation, also called Female Genital Cutting).
Alexis Wright from Njenni Enterprise: Ending Violence against Women and Girls spoke in depth about the practice and context of FGM. Alexis helped to keep the focus on FGM as an abuse of women and girls often misconceived as an issue of culture and ethnicity. Her knowledge was greatly appreciated as was her sensitivity and “informal light style of delivery on a complex, difficult subject” (Participant feedback).
Since the Learning Together Event concerns have been raised by the local Somali community in Bristol about the harm caused by ill-advised statutory interventions. Somali Parents Against Stigmatisation (SPAS) describe their experience of the anti-FGM campaign locally as “based on assumptions, misinformation and intimidation” which “targets and profiles certain ethnic groups”.
The Bristol Somali Media Group acknowledge that FGM is an illegal practice that should be eradicated but highlight the need to work together in finding a way forward which works in partnership with the local community.
'The Cut' - poem by Maryam Sheikh Abdi
Learning Together Event feedback
Participants were asked for feedback on the event, starting with an Appreciative Enquiry question - 'What worked?'.
Depth of knowledge – addressed subject on so many different levels – history, culture, religion and health.
What will you do next?
- Raise awareness within my organisation about FGM.
- Reflect on my (professional) role, identity,work…don’t be afraid of sensitive issues that could offend.
- Read more about the historical context.
What does belonging to FREDA mean to me?
“It has opened my eyes, made me think in a different way, more globally, more aware of cultural differences, and I’m watching programmes that I maybe would not have watched before.”
Sue Morris, Service User and Carer Consultative Group