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Raising awareness about female genital mutilation

As part of an international day of awareness, Red Cross will hold public events about female genital mutilation: an issue that affects over 140 million women and girls worldwide.

Friday February 5, 2016

Female genital mutilation is an issue that affects over 140 million women and girls worldwide.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a cultural practice recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. While most prevalent in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East, it's also an issue affecting some women in Australia, many of whom are from refugee backgrounds.

On Saturday 6 February, the UN, which runs a global program aiming to help end FMG, holds the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the issue.

To mark the day, Red Cross, along with the Multicultural Centre for Women's Health and the University of Tasmania, is holding public events in Hobart and Launceston to raise awareness and understanding about FGM.

Event details:
Launceston: Monday 8 February, 9-11am
University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Arts Lecture Theatre 9, Room 151, Building L.

Hobart: Tuesday 9 February, 9-11am
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Law Lecture Theatre 1, Room 229.

"Those who attend the events will learn why dealing with this form of gender based violence is complex, and will hear the anonymous testimony of one woman directed affected by FGM," says Red Cross Community Development Worker Xavier Lane-Mullins.  

"There will also be discussion about why it is important we develop a deeper understanding of the issues that support FGM's continuation - in the hope that one day it has no place in the lives of women, children and families."  

In Tasmania, Australian Red Cross works to improve the health of people from refugee backgrounds, and their communities. Among those it helps are people affected by FGM.  

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people who don't speak English or are born overseas have less ability to make informed decisions about their health. This leads to poorer health outcomes for this group, compared with other people living in Australia.

For more information, to refer yourself or someone you know to our service, or to request a Red Cross training session for healthcare professionals, contact the Red Cross office in Tasmania.