Oh! What? or even Eugh! are not usual reactions to telling people I have a new job but that was before I started working for 28 Too Many!
I joined 28 Too Many on 8th March - International Women’s Day (that’s me on the far left with 28 Too Many team!), so it is still new to me and it is news to my family and friends. After taking an extended holiday since leaving my last job, it is natural for people to ask me what I am doing when we meet up. My first response is to say that I have just started working for a charity. This elicits a very positive reaction. It seems we all love to support a good cause and like to see others supporting them too. But then comes the follow up question “and what does the charity do?”
This is where it starts to get a bit more complicated. I guess everyone reading this blog is already aware that 28 Too Many is an anti-FGM charity but most of my friends and family know very little, if anything, about female genital mutilation (FGM). It is not that they don’t care. I am surrounded by loving and generous people who care passionately about others. They simply do not know about FGM as it is not generally talked about. The reasons why there is a silence about FGM provides enough material in its own right for a separate blog so suffice to say for this one that even if it is difficult we should be talking about this. Silence neither helps those affected nor protects girls at risk.
As the weeks go by, I am getting better at explaining about FGM and why we need organisations like 28 Too Many. If I am not embarrassed and talk plainly and simply, then the people listening do not get embarrassed and more to the point they hear what I am saying. As they listen and learn about FGM, people are shocked at the scale and impact of FGM but not that I am talking about it. Instead I am finding amazing compassion for others and plenty of support for the campaign against FGM.
There are many things that need to be done to end FGM but it seems that talking about it and the impact on girls, women and communities is a very good place to start. It is something we can all do easily and effectively every day so please join us in spreading the word.