In the 1960s, the British famously started modish trends in clothes and music. They called it the ‘British Invasion,’ most notably, with musical groups like the Beatles and Rolling Stones. British culture forecasted the latest craze and fads. And soon these fads and bands would appear on America’s shores and dominate our culture.
Today, Britain is struggling with its own cultural invasion—an invasion of the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The 21st century forebodes a disturbing British movement which, unless America learns from her ally across the pond, will import a pernicious and intractable trend. Female genital mutilation is sweeping over the British Isles faster than you can say “Twist and Shout.”
Although FGM has been a crime in Britain since 1985, there has been no conviction for FGM. Despite its illegality for 30 years, British prosecutors have been unable to successfully prosecute this crime. Britain’s National Health Institute released data for 2017-18 that around 4,500 new cases of FGM were recorded—more than one every two hours! An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have been exposed to female genital mutilation.
The report describes the underlying cause for the skyrocketing FGM numbers: “In addition to permanent residents, nearly 4,200 temporary residents born in FGM practicing countries were enumerated in 2011, of whom just over 900 came from countries where FGM is almost universal. Although these women may have moved on, others are likely to have succeeded them.”
According to a 2015 City University of London report on the prevalence of female genital mutilation in England and Wales, “[National and local estimates show] that the estimated numbers of women with FGM have increased since 2001, especially due to migration from countries in conflict. A substantial proportion of the increase which is among women from countries where FGM is nearly universal or prevalence is high. Although women with FGM tend to be concentrated in inner city areas and major cities, they are also widely dispersed and it is likely that some women with FGM are living in every local authority area. This has implications for service planning. While dedicated services may be needed in areas with large numbers of women with FGM, services in all areas should be aware of their needs and have strategies to meet them,” (emphasis added).
Will the United States learn from the mistakes of its friend, Britain? We have the unique opportunity to watch and learn from afar as the U.K. fumbles and fails to address the reality and consequences of a growing reality of female genital mutilation—and its costly personal and economic consequences.
As refugees migrate to modern Britain, they pack their ancient brutal practices with them. Law enforcement is virtually helpless to stop its growth.
This is the classic clash of cultures. Millenia of practicing FGM, no matter how heinous to modernity, no matter its illegality, no matter its health consequences, no matter its obvious human rights violations, will be imported by refugees. British values and moral standards are flouted and circumvented by the refugees. As the latest U.K. report found, “A substantial proportion of the increase (of FGM) is due to women from countries where FGM is nearly universal or prevalence is high.”
No amount of training, education or even prosecutions can slow down this tsunami of FGM brutality in England. Are the Brits now longing for the days of yesterday and singing the morose and melancholy Beatle lyrics?
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday
Elizabeth Yore is an international child rights attorney who is heading the EndFGMToday initiative.