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"'I Carry the Name of my Parents': Young People's Reflections on FGM and Forced Marriage"

The research entitled "'I Carry the Name of my Parents': Young People's Reflections on FGM and Forced Marriage" collected young people's views and experiences of Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage across the UK, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Twenty-eight young men and women, from diverse ethnicities, were recruited by project partners in Lisbon, Amsterdam and London to act as PEER researchers. All were aged between 18-29 years old with an average age of 23 years. They were trained in conducting conversational interviews and ethical practice, and selected three trusted friends with whom to conduct in-depth discussions. A total of 82 respondents took part. Interviews covered a range of themes, including migration experiences, gender and social norms, notions of cultural identity, and harmful practices including FGM and forced marriage.

Key findings from the research indicated that:

  • Young people still believed in the underlying reasons for FGM and forced marriage although they were against these practices many still believed in the underlying reasons behind the practices.
  • Many young people could not differentiate between forced and arranged marriage and were significantly more morally ambiguous about the practice of forced marriage.
  • Young people clearly stated that they would need more support to enable them to question the practices with community elders and their parents – as they elders were seen as ‘defenders of morality’. This has serious implications on the feasibility of girls and young women reporting their parents.
  • Almost all the young people recommended schools as an avenue for awareness raising and prevention methods for the practices of FGM and forced marriage.

Recommendations from the research were as follow:

  • Young people should have adequate support in the complex task of developing confidence and ways to talk about FGM and forced marriage whilst retaining a respectful relationship with older generations.
  • Ambiguity and acceptance regarding forced marriage must be tackled by raising awareness of the absolute nature of human rights.
  • Every effort should be made to raise the awareness of the need that the issues  of FGM and Forced Marriage are relevant within Europe and remain on the agenda.
  • It is important to ensure that peer to peer support is available to young people.
  • Support to young people affected and/or at risk must be provided at adequate levels and in practical ways
  • FGM and forced marriage are forms of gender inequality and attempts to control the sexuality of girls and young women.

View a copy of the full report here.