EastEnders confirm female genital mutilation storyline

EastEnders confirm female genital mutilation storyline as fans praise the soap for highlighting the issue

EastEnders have confirmed it’s set to explore a dark female genital mutilation storyline involving character Mila Marwa and her younger sister Kioni.

Tuesday’s episode of the BBC soap saw Mila (Ruhtxjiaïh Bèllènéa) fearing her sister (Florisa Kamara) was to be taken away to be ‘cut’ as she confided in Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) that she had went through the ordeal herself. 

Watching the episode unfold, EastEnders fans were left stunned as it dawned on them the fate that awaits Kioni, with viewers praising the soap for tackling the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). 

Upcoming plot: EastEnders have confirmed it’s set to explore a dark female genital mutilation storyline involving character Mila Marwa and her younger sister Kioni

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the exterior female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

During Monday’s episode, Mila was surprised after her sibling rocked up in Walford and after a catch-up in the cafe, she soon learned that Kioni was due to head off on ‘holiday’ with their mum in two weeks time.

Kioni told her sister: ‘We’re going away in a couple of weeks, just me and mum, a holiday down the coast. Mum’s taking me to see an auntie I’ve never met before.’

Fears: Tuesday’s episode of the BBC soap saw Mila (Ruhtxjiaïh Bèllènéa) fearing her sister (Florisa Kamara, piuctured) was to be taken away to be ‘cut’ as she confided in Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) that she had went through the ordeal herself

The following episode then saw a worried Mila begging Kathy to let her sister stay at her home for a few days as she feared what fate awaited Kioni.

With Kathy demanding to know why she was so worried about her sibling, an emotional Mila began: ‘She’s being taken away to…’

Struggling to form the words, she added: ‘She’s the age now… to be cut. You’d call it FGM’, leaving Kathy horrified.  

And after Kathy asked how she knew this was true, Mila then admitted: ‘[I know] became it’s exactly what happened to me.’

Worried The following episode then saw a worried Mila begging Kathy to let her sister stay at her home for a few days as she feared what fate awaited Kioni

Shock: With Kathy demanding to know why she was so worried about her sibling, an emotional Mila began: ‘She’s being taken away to…’ Struggling to form the words, she added: ‘She’s the age now… to be cut. You’d call it FGM’

Horrified: And after Kathy asked how she knew this was true, Mila then admitted: ‘[I know] became it’s exactly what happened to me’

Viewers watching at home were quick to take to Twitter to share their thoughts on the new storyline, with many praising the soap for raising awareness of the issue. 

‘Think it’s amazing that #EastEnders are creating awareness regarding #FGM’ commented one viewer. 

While another remarked: ‘Really pleased that @bbceastenders are tackling and raising awareness of FGM in this new storyline. So many people are unaware that it still happens and I don’t remember ever seeing it covered on mainstream TV before #EastEnders

Reaction: Viewers watching at home were quick to take to Twitter to share their thoughts on the new storyline, with many praising the soap for raising awareness of the issue

‘Amazing job by the #Eastenders cast and crew to tackle FGM and raising awareness of the all important signs it could be about to happen’ commented a third watcher.

‘Oooohhhh I was right. #EastEnders are doing a FGM SL! I hope this highlights this horrific crime’ tweeted a fourth.

With another adding: ‘Well done #EastEnders! FGM storyline will be one of the most important things you can do. Well done!’

EastEnders continues Thursday at 7.35pm on BBC One.  

What is female genital mutilation (FGM)?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The practice has no health benefits for girls and women and is not supported by any religious text.

FGM can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.

More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.

The practice also takes place in some Latin American countries and among immigrant communities worldwide. 

FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15.

Girls are commonly taken out of school after being subjected to the practice and forced into early marriage. 

FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

The World Health Organization is opposed to all forms of FGM, and is opposed to health care providers performing FGM.

Despite being illegal in most countries, the practice persists as implementation and enforcement of laws are complicated by practical and cultural factors. 

Treatment of health complications of FGM in 27 high prevalence countries costs $1.4 billion per year.

 

Source: World Health Organization (WHO) 

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