6 February 2014

Impact of emergencies on FGM

In 2005 28 Too Many founder Ann-Marie Wilson met a young girl in Sudan. She was only 11 years old and had already experienced FGM at age 5. Then when she was 10 year old her village was destroyed by insurgents, her parents murdered and she was raped, ending up alone and pregnant. She had obstructed labour due to her young age and the FGM. The girl and her baby would have died if not for the medical care offered by aid workers at the refugee camp where she took shelter.

This story shows how emergency situations, whether caused by conflict or natural disasters, can be especially traumatic for girls and women who have experienced FGM. Crisis situations can also increase the risk of FGM and related complications due to the resulting social upheaval and the fact that sexual violence increases.

Our new briefing paper on the impact of emergency situations on FGM looks specifically at this complex issue and identifies some of the key considerations that need to be taken into account as governments and international aid organisations prepare responses to emergencies.

“This new research is drawn from our experiences working in fragile states and our detailed research on FGM in Africa,” explains Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, 28 Too Many Executive Director. “The UK Government launched a new initiative on preventing sexual violence last year and hosts a major international summit on this important issue in June 2014. Therefore we hope this new research helps to ensure that how we ensure protection for those at risk of FGM, and support for those who have experienced it, is part of the discussion.”