Nick Clegg: The more men speak out against FGM, the sooner we can stop it

Nick Clegg 3 - Paul WalterCosmopolitan magazine caught up with Nick Clegg at the Girl Summit the other day. They have launched their own campaign to remember the victims of “honour killings”, surely the most inappropriate way to describe cold blooded murder. The images they’ve had designed to illustrate their campaign are extremely hard hitting.

He was asked what he thought Cosmo’s young women readers could do to help end FGM and forced marriage:

…the most powerful change of all is girls and women speaking up. Not allowing this to lurk in the shadows, or be swept under the carpet, or stereotyped as a ‘woman’s problem’ only, or something that’s only prevalent in the developing world. This should concern anybody who has any shred of humanity. So speak up and speak out. For too long this has been regarded as taboo. For too long it’s been regarded as ‘not the done thing’ to speak out about. The more we can bring this out into the open and see it for what it is – a terrible form of oppression for girls over the ages, in which their bodies have been mutilated – the sooner we can speak out and speak up about it, the better.

He tackled the criticism of him going on Sunday Brunch at the weekend:

Politicians have always campaigned on issues which aren’t necessarily the ‘fashionable’ preoccupations of Westminster village. I’ve always tried to use ways of communicating which aren’t necessarily the old fashioned way of doing things – whether that’s through social media (Twitter) or my weekly radio programme…I was even criticised yesterday for going on a Sunday morning programme because some people don’t think it’s the way you ‘should’ communicate!

And he ended by talking about how important it was that men spoke out:

I think it’s incredibly important that men see this is an issue which should shame them into action just as much as anybody else. Because at the end of the day, this is an issue of how we protect our children. It’s an issue of how we prevent them from being abused. That’s something every person – whether man or woman – should be concerned about. The more boys and men feel they have a shared responsibility in this, the quicker we can put an end to this practice.

You can read the whole article here. 

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  • Richard Dean 24th Jul '14 - 2:31pm

    Yes, the fight against FGM is a man’s fight too, as well as a woman’s. It concerns us all.
    How to respond to this ? …

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Jul '14 - 5:25pm

    I am in favour of prosecuting parents and reducing economic ties with governments who aren’t doing enough to tackle FGM.

    I don’t agree with only prosecuting cutters. It’s a crime and the parents can’t just be absolved from responsibility. It will be a deterrent too.

  • Rabi Martins 25th Jul '14 - 11:58am

    I am really heartened by Nick’s public pronouncement on this There really is no justification for us turning a blind eye to this barbaric practice not just in the UK but in any country where it takes place One tool we have at our disposal is the Foreign Aid Budget I would like to see this withheld from any country that refuses to act on

  • I remember many, many years ago reading a Minority Rights Group booklet on the subject of FGM. I was totally shocked, not believing this really happened in the world. So I was delighted when it was a Liberal Democrat ( Lynne Featherstone ) who put this issue on the political agenda. It really seems as if action in now happening to bring this terrible practise to an end, here and overseas.
    YES! it does need the full involvement of men, this is not a ‘women’s’ issue, it is an issue for all, man or woman.

  • Whilst FGM is abhorrent and alien to me, I cant see what difference a few middle aged white men speaking out makes, Clegg will not influence these people through his words and neither will I. The difference between Clegg and I is that he can make laws and policy ghat will inhibit this practice. So, rather than speaking out, he should focus on tightening the law to wipe out this practice here as far as possible.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jul '14 - 8:31am

    Alistair said what I was too afraid to say (given my reputation on this subject). We should have been prosecuting parents ages ago, but some of the campaigns most vocal supporters have been against it. In the end, Cameron announced it and he’ll get the credit. It’s a waste of time to do a campaign and then let someone else get the credit for taking the actions.

    Not many people like to be tough vocally and tough with the law, so I understand their position, but the quieter ones shouldn’t be judged as being more supportive of the practice, just perhaps having different methods.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jul '14 - 8:50am

    Although, I’ll say I am in favour of a bit of speaking out, but lots of demonising plus little action from the police are two mistakes the campaign has made, in my opinion.

  • To expand a little, of course its not wrong for a politician to say what they believe, but British people are already overwhelming opposed to FGM, and Clegg and other MPs and especially party leaders in a ruling coalition have the ability to materially change laws, which are likely to have more impact than mere words. The people that carry out FGM and the families that arrange it dont care what Clegg thinks because he has no understanding of their culture they might care if they have to do time. As its typically happening abroad the families have to be targeted here to make a difference. There are at the moment a lot of posters for AI saying things like “this girl has been tortured, will you send a text”. I dont vote for Clegg so he can send a text, or say a few things I agree with, I vote for him to make laws and direct policy and funding.

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