SOME 500 girls in Almeria province are at risk of suffering female genital mutilation according to researchers on a new social project.
Coinciding with the International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female General Mutilation on February 6, the University of Almeria and Medicos del Mundo presented details of their joint study ‘Migration and female genital mutilation: a cultural and gender approach for prevention’.
Cayetano Fernandez, the director of the University of Almeria’s Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine department, and one of the report’s main researchers, said the conclusion on the number of girls at risk was based on the girls belonging to an ethnic group in which FGM is practiced in 90-95 per cent of cases and said there are 16 identified cases in the province.
She also said Almeria has the second highest number of girls at risk of FGM in Andalucia and highlighted the importance of raising awareness about the issue.
The social project will be focused on victims’ experiences and the mothers of possible victims, as well as the religious and non-religious leaders of communities in order to analyse the situation in Almeria and adapt or implement action guidelines for professionals for the identification of sectors of the province at risk and for the prevention of FGM.
The investigating team will be made up of seven UAL researchers and 13 personnel from Medicos del Mundo and will involve carrying out in-depth interviews.
Medicos del Mundo Andalucia president Maria del Carmen Dominguez explained the practice is carried out “by men to ensure their wives are faithful and by women due to cultural tradition, because if they do not go through it they not accepted by family or socially and often are thrown out of their social group.”
She also stressed the invaluable role of mediators given the cultural differences between migrants’ countries of origin and Spain.
Medicos del Mundo is committed to preventing and eradicating the practice and works both within and outside Spain to raise awareness on the subject, maintaining it is incompatible with the human rights, freedom, dignity, equality and health of women and girls.
The UAL-Medicos del Mundo project will also involve a Female Genital Mutilation conference in October.