1887
3- Medical Humanities in the Middle East Conference
  • EISSN: 2223-506X

Abstract

FGM, Female Genital Mutilation, is one of the most prevalent types of violence against girls and women in Egypt. Despite its horrific short- and long-term physical and psychological complications, according to UNICEF data reports, FGM remains widely practised against girls and women aged 15-49 in around 30 countries in Africa and Asia (UNICEF Egypt Data Snapshot, 2019). Non-medical, primarily, social and cultural beliefs that are associated with girls’ and women’s and continue to control the lives of millions of them and, in some cases, lead to their death. November 25, 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the global 16 days campaign of activism which was launched by the Centre for Women’s Leadership to raise awareness about violence against women worldwide. In Egypt, this year, among several events that commemorate the anniversary, Care Egypt Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the National Committee for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation (NCEFGM), launched a social media campaign against FGM entitled “My Story with Genital Mutilation” (Care Egypt, 2021). The campaign’s team gathered eight real-life stories of Egyptian women survivors and collaborated with artist Noran Fikri who drew the graphic artwork. In this research project, I argue that the aim of choosing graphic drawings for that campaign is twofold: 1) drawing real-life stories of Egyptian FGM survivors empowers thousands of girls/women to break their silence, and report about similar practices which may prevent potential victims from undergoing such abuse; 2) this campaign aims to reach large numbers of social platform users, to make FGM everyone’s problem in Egypt, in the hope of shifting the narrative from chiefly raising awareness about performing such violent practices into inspiring mainly Non-Government Organizations, lawmakers or national officials but individuals—whether directly harmed or not—to take an action against FGM. I also suggest that this eight-graphic-stories collection is a representation of a graphic medicine movement in Egypt. Coined in 2010 by Ian Williams, Graphic Medicine is “the intersection of the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare… a community where many people have found their voice” (Czerwiec et al, 2015, p. 1). The graphic form lends a fresh perspective on FGM survivors’ personal physical, psychological and mental suffering. It softly invites other women survivors to share their stories. Since it is a social media campaign, each of these eight very short stories is illustrated in a one-page graphic artwork, in a short, quick yet shocking and horrifying emotion-packed . The graphic visual delineation of the memory of pain and hurt of such abuse which those women are forced to live with, subtly connect them to their fellow survivors in a manner that words cannot attain.

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/content/journals/10.5339/connect.2022.medhumconf.36
2022-08-31
2022-09-25
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References

  1. Care Egypt Foundation for Development. (2021). حكايتي مع الختان. Retrieved from https://care.org.eg/ar/2021/11/25.
  2. Czerwiec, M.K., Williams, I., Squier, S. M., Green, M. J., Myers, K. R., & Smith, S. T. (2015). Graphic Medicine Manifesto. Pennsylvania Stat University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. UNICEF. (June 2019). Female genital mutilation FGM. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/egypt/media/5311/file/FGM%20(English).pdf.
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.5339/connect.2022.medhumconf.36
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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