The arrest of a Zimbabwean Woman at Heathrow (Woman Arrested for conspiracy to commit FGM, The Guardian, 6 February 2015)
Being an anti –FGM activist, born and raised in Zimbabwe, I thought I had to comment about the arrest at Heathrow.
I recently wrote about FGM in Zimbabwe on my blog,
http://www.exquisitelady.blogspot.com, it is clear from research and published work that
Zimbabwe is not considered a serious culprit.
There are 4 types of Female genital Mutilation,
· Type I The clitoris or the hood of it is cut away.
· Type II The clitoris and inner labia are removed (FGM types I and II constitute 80% of female genital mutilation performed world-wide).
· Type III The clitoris, inner labia, and outer labia are cut away and the remaining skin is sewn or sealed together to cover the urinary opening and entrance to the vagina.
This is the most extreme form of FGM, involving removal of almost two thirds of the female genitalia. Type III constitutes 15% of mutilations performed world-wide.
· Type IV All other harmful procedures, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization
All available information suggests that type 4 is practised in Zimbabwe, but not by all tribes. All forms of FGM should end but we have to arrest the responsible people, as we should with any other crime.
We all want prosecutions on this heinous crime but all the evidence should point to the accused. Just being black and having an 8 year girl does not make a person guilty.
The CPS needs proper guidelines which will enable those involved to gather evidence without prejudice.
Following the rightful acquittal of Dr Dhamarsen, lessons on how to go about prosecuting people should be learnt.
There has to be a better understanding of FGM by everybody, and the reasons why it continues to be practised, which are not the same In Zimbabwe for example, as they are in Sierra Leone, Nigeria or Kenya.
The UK has never had a successful prosecution unlike France and we should be asking ourselves why this is and learn from them. The French legal system might be the key to this as the inquisitorial system of justice seems less inclined to act, simply in order to be seen to be doing something.
More information can be found on my blog, my book- A lost youth by Abigal Muchecheti which can be found on Amazon and https://cefgm.wordpress.com