- Prime Minister Tony AbbottThe Prime Minister of Australia & Minister for Women
Protect Australian Girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
My name is Khadija Gbla
I am a 26 year old Australian. I was born in Sierra Leone and came to Australia as a refugee when I was 13 years old.
I have been a peer educator for the Women’s Health Statewide program on female genital mutilation since 2004, and for SHine SA, the leading sexual health agency in South Australia, since 2006. I volunteer with South Australian Council of Social Services and Multicultural Youth South Australia Inc, and I am currently studying Law and politics at Flinders University.
I have been recognised by a number of significant Australian business and political organisations, and in 2011 was named Young South Australian of the Year and Young African Australian of the Year.
I am a survivor of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
When I was 9 years old, I was taken on a “holiday” by my mother and another elder woman to the bush of Gambia where I was held down by my mother while an old lady took a blunt, rusty old knife and cut off my clitoris and my labia. I remember screaming in agony as I was cut, inch by inch. The trauma of that experience lives with me to this day.
When we moved to Australia I realised that this practice is known as female genital mutilation (FGM). I am so angry that I was subjected to this unnecessary act of violence. I have had a precious part of my body removed that cannot be replaced.
I bled for weeks but I was lucky to survive. Many girls die from this brutal act. Although the practice has existed for generations, with my generation it will stop.
FGM is not culture, it is violence and torture. It is a human rights abuse, it is child abuse and it is sexual abuse. It is too late once it has happened.
Silence about FGM in Australia is allowing it to continue
What many people do not realise is that although FGM is illegal in Australia, girls are still subjected to this crime. Teachers have said that they know of girls being taken, doctors say they worry for girls who are going home to FGM practising countries. Yet few people act to protect the girls who are at risk of FGM. No FGM Australia commissioned a report that estimated 3 girls per day are at risk.
What you can do
The Prime Minister (who is also the Minister for Women) can do more to protect Australian girls from FGM. We ask Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott and the Minister assisting the Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash to act immediately to protect girls from FGM .
This needs a co-ordinated approach including child protection services, health care, education, immigration and the police in order to prevent FGM and ensure our laws are enforced.
We ask therefore that the Prime Minister urgently convenes a cross-ministerial meeting by the end of 2015 to plan and align strategies to eliminate this brutal practice in Australia.
I want this practice to stop with my generation but I can’t do it alone. Please the sign the petition and help me to protect our Australian girls from FGM.
- The Prime Minister of Australia & Minister for Women
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Please act to Protect Australian Girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM is a serious form of violence against women and girls and many girls are at risk of FGM in Australia.
There must be a co-ordinated approach to address FGM including better data collection of women who have undergone FGM and establishment of a task force of Departments of Health, Education, Immigration, Police and Social services to develop a strategic, integrated approach to tackle FGM in Australia.
We ask that you convene a cross-ministry meeting by the end of 2015 to plan a comprehensive strategy to protect Australian girls from FGM including:
1. Collecting better data to get a better picture of prevalence of FGM in Australia
2.Creating an FGM Task Force with Departments of Health, Education, Immigration, Attorney-General, Social Services and Police to develop a strategic plan to address FGM in Australia
3. Providing adequate funding for a) systematic government programs for care for survivors and child protection, and b) for grassroots NGOs which are able to run programs to address FGM.
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