The latest episode of the BBC1 drama "Call the Midwife" will be tackling a subject that is rarely - if ever - brought up on television: female genital mutilation. The next episode will be focusing more towards the plight of Nadifa, an expecting mother from Somaliland who has already undergone this procedure and is now dealing with its after effects.
In a recent interview with Woman's Hour, show writer and creator Heidi Thomas said she had wanted to explore this issue for quite some time now. "I have long been interested in FGM for some time and it did seem to me that if we waited until 1962, the Somali community were beginning to settle and establishing a foothold in the East", said Thomas.
According to the Guardian, at least 200 million girls worldwide are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation. The procedure basically involves the complete or partial removal of a female's genitals for non-medical reasons. It is said that at least one FGM survivor is being treated in the U.K. every hour.
Knowing that the subject being touched on by the episode would ruffle more than a few feathers, the producers of the show brought in Nimco Ali, an anti-FGM campaigner and founder of the non-profit organization "Daughters of Eve", as an advisor for the episode. She says it is loosely based on the experiences of her own relatives who migrated from Somaliland in the 1960s.
Ali is a survivor of FGM herself having undergone the procedure when she was only seven years old. She says that she was aware the episode would generate a bit of controversy but was still very impressed by the "immense level of knowledge" shown by the show's writers. Ali is also hoping that viewers will not feel overwhelmed by the trauma brought about by FGM, but instead, feel inspired to help out and support anti-FGM causes.
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