A father subjected his nine-year-old daughter to female genital mutilation (FGM) to punish her. The girl was subjected to the traumatic practice on two occasions, the Old Bailey has heard.
The father, 50, and from west Africa, allegedly allowed for his UK-born daughter, now 16, to be cut in their south London home because he believed she had stolen money. The court heard the girl was stripped from the waist down and cut on the floor of the family’s hallway.
Jurors were told the victim could not tell whether the cutter was a man or a woman. She had begged for the mutilation to stop, but her father kept “egging the person” on.
Mark Heywood QC, for the prosecution, told the court: “She was not given any medicine or painkillers. It was painful and she begged for it to stop… It bled a lot at the time, but her father would not listen. She was told to be quiet and keep still. She had been crying and begging. He simply encouraged the person to keep on doing it, egging them on.”
The victim had to relive the abuse a second time, as her father forced it on her after the initial wound had healed. It was carried out in the same way and context of the first instance.
There is no medical reason for FGM, and it is not advocated for in any religious text. However, communities mainly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia still consider the procedure a milestone on the female path to adulthood.
“This was not apparently out of any cultural or family reason, but more, as she understood it, as way of punishment,” a court at the Old Bailey was told.
The 50-year-old man denies two charges of committing female genital mutilation between May 30, 2010 and June 1, 2013. He also denies two charges of wounding with intent and three charges of cruelty to three children.
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Kate Bex QC, for the defense, told the court her client denied the allegations in their entirety, whether within an FGM context or otherwise. “He will tell you FGM is most commonly performed by women… for reasons of honor and social acceptance, not for punishment, physical chastisement or dishonesty.”
Despite FGM cases in the UK reportedly increasing five-fold since 2014, only 36 have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) since 2010. Despite the government having criminalized FGM in 1985, there has not been a single successful prosecution.
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