Despite the US global gag rule, we’ll continue the campaign against FGM
| By Djenab Diallo
Djenab Diallo, an End FGM Ambassador, discusses the group’s ‘Building Bridges’ campaign to raise awareness about female genital mutilation.
When I try to remember the day I was ‘cut’ as a little girl in Guinea-Conakry, only a few scattered, traumatic moments come back to me. I remember the taxi ride with my mum and other girls from my neighbourhood. The painful memory of being held down by three or four women. Then it was my sister’s turn, I was crying, silently hoping she would escape. But no.
I was seven or eight then, and my family has since abandoned female genital mutilation (FGM). I am now a 25-year old ambassador for the End FGM European Network, part of its ‘Building Bridges’ campaign to end the practice both in Africa and amongst the diaspora in Europe.
As with my family, female genital mutilation is often a reason for parents to flee to Europe with their children.
As a survivor of FGM – having since studied medicine in Belgium, specialising in gynaecology, and living in London – I work to raise awareness, most recently in Burkina Faso. It helps me to overcome the physical and emotional pain I lived through, by reaching out and speaking on behalf of the estimated 200 million victims of this harmful practice.
Gag rule disaster
And the battle has just gotten harder. In January, US President Donald Trump reinstated a ‘global gag rule’, potentially blocking billions of dollars of funding from groups that have anything to do with abortion, family planning and reproductive health services, including those affected by gender-based violence.