To coincide with International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March, Bindy Taylor shares with Revive the story of Khadija Gbla, executive director of No FGM Australia. Khadija will also be the keynote speaker at the UnitingWomen conference to be held in Adelaide this April.
Spending time with Khadija Gbla is an uplifting experience – she is as passionate and as vocal one-on-one as she is speaking to a gathering of 1,000 people. Khadija has squeezed a lot of life into her 27-years, and she feels compelled by God to share her life experiences, both the ups and the downs, to instill hope in others.
At the age of nine, Khadija underwent female genital mutilation (FGM), an unnecessary and cruel act of violence. At the time, Khadija had no idea what was happening to her, but she is now able to name it for what it is – human rights abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. It is an experience she wants no other girl or woman to go through.
FGM, also known as female circumcision, has no known health benefits and is largely practiced in countries within Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Common reasons given for performing FGM include social acceptance, hygiene, ideas relating to female sexuality, purity and modesty, religion, and cultural identity. While it has been restricted or outlawed in many of the locations where it is practiced, FGM procedures continue to be performed. The dangerous act can lead to ongoing health problems, inability to conceive a child and complications during childbirth.