Steve Reed OBE, together with MPs from all parties, was at the opening of a week-long art exhibition at the House of Commons this week celebrating tales of survival from women affected by Female Genital Mutilation.
Reed, the MP for Croydon North, is the sponsoring Member of Parliament for the exhibition and a great supporter for the work that Croydon’s FGM project is undertaking in the borough.
There are estimated to be 3,480 females in Croydon who have been affected by FGM. Croydon has a dedicated FGM project working across the NHS and local authority to reduce and prevent FGM in the borough as well as improving psychological and physical health outcomes for those who are affected.
The exhibition comprises four portraits of FGM survivors Leyla Hussein, Hibo Wardere, Alimatu Dimonekene and Lucy Njomo, each painted by painted by artist Emma Scutt.
Reed said, “These stunning portraits bring light to the issue of FGM. This is an absolutely horrific, barbaric practice which has been illegal since 1985 in the UK. I cannot overstate the importance of raising awareness to help support communities to identify, tackle and help protect young women and girls from the threat of FGM. These portraits represent four women’s personal testimonies in a powerful way, it is a tribute to the work and I am proud to take up this cause.”
Njomo is a Croydon resident and works with NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group and Croydon Council to identify and provide support to girls and women affected by or at risk of FGM.
To date, more than 1,100 professionals from health, local authority, police and the voluntary sector have been trained in FGM, risk assessment, identification and management of FGM, local referral pathways and procedures.
“We need to break the cultural silence and find new ways to talk about FGM,” Njomo said.
“This art exhibition gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the many survivors of FGM who have to live with the lifelong consequences every day. I am happy to be part of this exciting exhibition so that my story can effect real change and reach out to others who are suffering.”
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