Keen to educate others about the myths and risks surrounding female genital mutilation (FGM) Keanna Williams and her team are taking a stand against the controversial tradition.
The group from London have launched a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of FGM, in the hope that they can help put a stop to the practice.
It’s thought the procedure, which involves altering or causing injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, could affect thousands of girls under the age of 15 in the UK each year.
‘Knowledge is power and with the correct understanding of FGM we could move towards abolishing it someday,’ explains 18-year-old Keanna.
‘It hurts my heart that this continues due to tradition.
‘I know of women who have been through this process.’
FGM is illegal in the UK and can have devasting impacts, including psychological trauma, a lifetime susceptibility to infection, an increased chance of complications during childbirth and even the risk of death.
Customary within some cultures, and prevalent within parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, it’s carried out largely due to the belief that a woman who has not been cut is ‘unclean’.
‘It’s crucial for both men and women to get involved in this campaign,’ Keanna says.
‘It could be your mother, aunt, daughter, girlfriend or sister who becomes a victim of FGM and if neither gender understands the implications this can have, then the cycle will go on.
‘If we don’t explain things properly then we will not be successful. We can’t assume everyone thinks in the same way.
‘This is why education is so important.’
With Fixers, Keanna and her team have helped create a film to show the physical and emotional impact FGM can have on girls and young women.
They hope to use the resource during workshops at schools and colleges to encourage discussion on the topic.
Watch Keanna and her team’s Fixers film ‘FGM’ at the top of this page.
Warning: Some viewers may be disturbed by the content of this film. Not suitable for very young children.
Keanna adds: ‘I really hope this film will speak to people. I want it to hit home.
‘I don’t think everyone realises that FGM doesn’t just happen in Africa – it happens in the UK as well.
‘I want this to be a catalyst for change so that we can all fight FGM together.’
If you are concerned that a child is at risk or is a victim of FGM, contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550, or visit their website.
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Anam Ali and Deeqa Ahmed have been talking about their
anti-FGM campaign on TV. Watch their story.