The Cruel Cut

Wed Nov 6, 10.45-11.45pm, C4

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


Is ‘cultural sensitivity’ really preventing discussion of female genital mutilation? Tonight, Leyla Hussein (who was cut at the age of seven) approaches passers-by in the UK and persuades several of them to sign a petition in favour of FGM, on the grounds that it’s a valuable tradition among certain communities. She does lose a point or two for blaming this on ‘political correctness’ – surely a lazily selected target – but, even so, there’s an ignorance here that needs to be addressed and for the most part, Hussein faces it with heart and gusto.

It’s genuinely shocking that, in the 28 years since FGM became illegal in the UK, there hasn’t been a single prosecution for the offence. Theresa May, who seems to dodge a meeting with Hussein, doesn’t come out of this film particularly well. But in any case, real progress will surely come when the relevant communities see the light about what FGM involves.

Accordingly, this film’s most revelatory moment is Hussein’s demonstration, to a group of young men, of exactly what the procedure entails. Several of them had seemed to be casually in favour of FGM beforehand – their horror and nausea at finding out exactly what they’re condoning is predictable but uplifting too. This is a very personal mission for Hussein and it shows – here, she’s made a valuable contribution to the cause.


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1 comments
azra
azra

I have just watched 'The Cruel Cut' on C4. This documentary is powerful and Leyla Hussien is a courageous woman to campaign on rights of young children (girls) in a country where there has been a law that makes this FGM a criminal offence. Yet in the last 28 years no one has been prosecuted for this heinous crime in the UK. This in itself speaks volumes in terms of it appears government again are providing a token service when it comes to protecting the rights of Black children. Sadly the lack of prosecution in my opinion reflects the different types of value that is placed in this society on lives of children based on the colour of their skin. Even if UK did not have a law against FGM there is plenty of legislation in the UK which protects children from abuse. FGM is abuse. Every child has a right to be protected from abuse. Protecting and promoting the rights of children is a society responsibility. You can be pink, purple , brown, green, have three legs and ten arms whatever and still promote the rights of all children. During my work as a Child protection social worker I put together a training program for professionals in Education establishments to raise awareness that forced marriage and FGM is abuse full stop. Two headteachers stated to me that FGM and forced marriages are a cultural practice and they have chosen not to report as they do not want to upset the local community leaders. I said to a headteacher if it was a white child who came to you and said they are been abused what would you do, the teacher said to me I would report it to the social services. It appeared in the program Teresa May made no effort to meet leyla the campaigner of children's rights. I hope Teresa May watches this program and rethinks the role she can play in endorsing this very important campaign; as every child has a right to life free from abuse and a right to protection. The laws in the UK are very clear in that they apply to every child in the UK. I hope Teresa May is able to put equal weight to this campaign as her party representatives have applied to a child going missing abroad. All children are precious not just the ones born to affluent families!!!

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