SAT-7 PARS Takes The Fight Against FGM To Iran

Following the death of 14-year-old Egyptian Nada Abdul Maksoud, SAT-7 continues to call for an end to the life-destroying practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As we mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM (6 Feb), SAT-7 adds Iran – where few are aware that it is practiced – to its advocacy audience, opening up a conversation that could save lives.

“When girls face emotional distress at a young age, even those whose mothers cannot completely meet their needs can still turn to them. But where can the victims of FGM go? Where can they find refuge?” asks Dr Shadi Javaheri, referring to the fact that it is often mothers, or other family members, who arrange for girls to undergo FGM.

Speaking on the SAT-7 PARS talk show Insiders, Dr Javaheri speaks plainly of the psychological harm FGM causes. “It is nothing but torture and abuse that will stay in the subconscious of the girl for a very long time. If the relationship between mother and daughter is formed in the midst of such an extremely violent event, what is this relationship destined for?” Then, explaining the lifelong physical consequences, she says, “Usually, when incisions are made and the genitals are mutilated, anasthetics are not used and the equipment is completely amateur. This is why it often results in serious infection and permanent harm.”

Dr Javaheri’s message urgently needs to be heard in Iran. The practice is common in provinces home to the Sunni Shafi’i minority, which have been described as “secret pockets” of FGM prevalence. But in the rest of Iran, where FGM is very rare, awareness of the practice is low – making it difficult to challenge the deep-rooted ideologies that underpin it.

SAT-7 PARS’ focus on the topic joins the advocacy of SAT-7 ARABIC, which has long worked to challenge FGM in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa where the practice is far more widespread. In Egypt, for example, 87 percent of women and girls aged over 15 have undergone FGM[1].

“Despite laws being put in place, the mindset has not yet changed,” says SAT-7 ARABIC Programming Manager George Makeen. “There has been an improvement, but the majority [in Egypt] still practice FGM. This is why we need to campaign against this horrific practice continually.”

In 2017, a series of 11 documentaries produced by the SAT-7 ACADEMY brand challenged FGM through open discussion. The topic has also been discussed on the powerful SAT-7 ARABIC women’s program Needle and New Thread and the current affairs show Bridges.

Why is FGM carried out?

Female Genital Mutilation, which often involves the cutting or removal of the clitoris or other external genitalia, stems from a cultural belief that women must be circumcised in order to be “pure”. Proponents claim that if a woman feels no sexual pleasure, she is less likely to have extramarital sex and will be less “demanding” of her husband. Regionwide, FGM is practiced both by Christians and Muslims, with girls and women living in smaller communities at greater risk.

  • Please pray for all girls and women who have been harmed by the barbaric practice of FGM, that God will heal them physically and psychologically.
  • Pray also for those at risk of being cut, that they will be protected and allowed to grow up in safety and freedom.
  • Pray for the viewers who learn about the harm of FGM on SAT-7 PARS and SAT-7 ARABIC, that they will be inspired to work to end this practice in their own families and communities.

[1] Source: UNICEF

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