Dr Momoh gave a big thank you to all involved in the production of this fantastic DVD and then
spoke on the short film titled, The Holiday. This film, she said, will go a long way to raising
awareness among professionals. When working with female genital mutilation (fgm) it is important
to work with the communities, people need to understand why fgm is being preformed in the first
In this DVD the mother says, ‘It [fgm] is her obligation.’ One question, Dr Momoh, always asks her
client’s is who supported your fgm? It is always the mother or the grandmother. Some think that
the clitoris is so unclean it must be removed. Some think that on the wedding night if the
husband’s penis touches the clitoris he will die. The majority of fgm is carried out during the long
We need to be aware of this. Fgm creates emotional and psychological issues for
women and girls and leads to a lack of trust as fgm is performed or supported by family members.
Fgm can cause haemorrhage, infection and even death. Fgm is very common in Muslim
communities however it pre-dates the Islamic religion and it must be remembered that it is also
practiced by Christians. In all these religious communities fgm is seen as a form of purification and
as a validating rite of passage. The most important thing is to work with the communities and that
is the key message here.
We need to challenge and change attitudes.
Dr Momoh left the audience with some facts – in her clinic she sees 400-500 women a year
affected by fgm. In 2007, Forward, a leading charity working on fgm, did some research on the
prevalence of fgm and reported that fgm affects 66 thousand women and about 33 thousand girls
in the UK. To end fgm, Dr Momoh reiterated, we need to work with the affected communities and
by changing attitudes Dr Momoh argued we will change the world.