Posted on July 14, 2014
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Well hello! Welcome to a brand new series of posts. From now on, on a weekly basis we’ll be sharing something or someone with you that’s caught our eye, made us think, or just reassured our faith in humanity.
And today, it’s a bit of all three.
The story begins last week, when a WISPee was making her way home from WISP HQ. Amongst all the pictures of Miley Cyrus and depressing weather forecasts in the Evening Standard, she saw something that really got her attention.
It was a piece on psychologist Leyla Hussein, who co-founded Daughters of Eve – a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of girls from communities that practice FGM (female genital mutilation).
Londoner Leyla, who has first-hand experience of pain and trauma of genital mutilation, had gone onto British streets with a fake survey, to test whether political correctness was stopping people from standing up against FGM.
She asked shoppers to sign a petition in favour of the practice, arguing that it was part of her ‘culture, traditions and rights’ – even though it was made illegal in Britain in 1985. Lo and behold, the Evening Standard reported that 19 people signed it in 30 minutes – some of whom said they thought it was wrong, but signed to protect Leyla’s culture.
The results of the fake survey drove Leyla to tears, and we’re not surprised. But we’re also impressed and inspired by her campaigning on behalf of Daughters of Eve, which fights to ‘protect and empower girls and young women’; giving them a voice where they might otherwise have none.
Its founders identified the need for girls from FGM-practicising communities to have a space where they were protected and supported, and they went about providing that. And their aim is to shape a world where ‘girls are safe and free from all forms of gender-based violence.’
To find out more about FGM and Daughters of Eve, head to their website. And be sure to catch Channel 4's documentary on Leyla's experience and female circumcision, tomorrow night at 10.45pm.