Norwich woman’s novel aims to educate children about FGM

Aneeta Prem, author of Cut Flowers

Aneeta Prem, author of Cut Flowers - Credit: Archant

It is a form of abuse that affects thousands of young women across the UK each year.

Aneeta Prem's book, Cut Flowers

Aneeta Prem's book, Cut Flowers - Credit: Archant

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) often leads to life-long suffering for those forced to endure it.

But now a Norfolk woman has produced a new novel to educate school children about the practice and how they can help stop it.

Aneeta Prem, who founded the Freedom Charity, said she hoped it would help put an end to the issue across the UK.

'Education plays a vital role in ending FGM and we want teachers to have the confidence to tackle this sensitive issue with pupils,' she said.

'Also, we want professionals, friends and family members of the victim to be able to recognise warning signs, and we want everyone to know where to turn to get help.'

Miss Prem, who lives in Hellesdon, said there had been cases of FGM reported in Norfolk, but was unable to give an exact figure.

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But she added: 'This is a very hidden issue and no one has an idea of numbers. Interestingly, a number of local midwives I have trained across the county told me in Norfolk they had come across survivors who had gone through FGM.'

Her new book, titled Cut Flowers, will be launched at schools across the county in September. It follows the story of two girls as they embark on their summer holidays – one to Great Yarmouth and the other to Africa.

She said the novel aims to warn young people about the signs of FGM and whether their friends of themselves are at risk.

'Schools using Cut Flowers will have a knowledge and understanding of what FGM is and how they can safeguard children,' she added.

The book is designed for children from the age of 11 through to adults.

More than 200 million girls and women world-wide have been subject to FGM, according to Unicef.

It involves the cutting of female gential organs for non-medical reasons and is a custom practised under the belief that it promotes chastity. In reality it can cause lifelong physical and psychological damage.

Her book was officially launched during an event at the House of Commons on June 29.

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