Lancaster teens highlight taboo topic

Shannon Park and Esme Coward, students from Lancaster who have set up a petition to raise awareness of FGM.
Shannon Park and Esme Coward, students from Lancaster who have set up a petition to raise awareness of FGM.

Two Lancaster students are hoping to make a difference to thousands of women across the country by setting up a petition to raise awareness of FGM.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

It is disgusting, I can’t imagine living with the effects

Esme Coward

The illegal procedure affects more than 60,000 women in the UK.

Esme Coward and Shannon Park, who are both 16-years-old, have set up an online petition to raise awareness of the taboo topic which they believe is not talked about enough.

Esme said: “The people who do it believe it is a necessity because it makes you whole and pure.

“It is disgusting, I can’t imagine living with the effects. Women get lots of infections and some find it hard to get pregnant – if they do there is a greater risk of miscarriage.

“I believe it is happening here because there is no way of knowing as it is kept a secret.”

They need 1,500 signatures on the petition to take to Lancaster City Council and central government.

It has been estimated over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk each year.

To sign the petition visit https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-rt-hon-theresa-may-mp-eliminate-female-genital-mutilation-in-the-uk#petition-letter