Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Anti-FGM activist Nimco Ali recalls being asked "if she can orgasm" by Jeremy Hunt

nimco-ali-1_slide-df5b0825c1006556191fd710b30a8cd8957fc2df-s800-c85.jpg

Nimco Ali, a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigner and co-founder of Daughters of Eve, has alleged that UK Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, asked her whether “girls like you” can still have an orgasm.

Speaking with News Roastshe revealed that she had met with Hunt at his Whitehall offices four years ago to discuss her work.

He reportedly said: “What I really want to know Nimco, is, can girls like you have an orgasm?”

The campaigner explained: “It was his first direct question. My reply was: ‘Well, it depends how good you are Jeremy. Because 80% of the clitoris is actually internal’”.


Read more: Rape victims will now be spared the trauma of giving evidence in court


Ali added: “This man is the Secretary of State for Health but he has no idea about FGM and I don’t think he even reads his briefings.”

Hosts Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein were stunned by Ali’s revelation, and criticised Hunt for his “crude” and “disrespectful” line of questioning.

Ali responded: “I think he is privileged enough to ask those questions.”

Jeremy Hunt

Since her original meeting with Hunt in 2013, the UK has taken considerable steps to raise public awareness and education on FGM: the Department of Health recorded its first FGM data last year to improve knowledge of its prevalence, and the NSPCC launched an FGM Helpline in June 2013.

Writing for iNews, Ali pointed out that these changes came as the result of what she called an “odd” meeting with Hunt, and highlighted that he has been instrumental in writing the “Recommendations from the Royal Medical Colleges on identifying, recording and reporting it were taken seriously.

“It is now mandatory to report FGM.”


Read more: Discover the tribe in western China where women hold all the power


Ali has also taken to social media to defend Hunt from backlash, tweeting that she and the Secretary of State for Health are “cool for real” and reiterating that the comment was made four years ago.

 

 

Ali also requested that Dawn Butler, an MP for Brent, withdraw a letter she sent to Hunt asking for a public apology for the comment.

Call the Midwife

A recent episode of Call the Midwife featured a storyline about an FGM victim

Female genital mutilation is most commonly carried out in parts of Africa and the Middle East, which attempts to cut, or change female genitalia. It is usually carried out on girls before puberty and can be practiced on infants.

It is illegal in the UK and Ireland: however, the NHS statistics for April 2015 to March 2016, recorded by doctors and nurses, shows there are 5,702 new cases in England, 18 of which were carried out in the UK.

It’s estimated that figures are actually much higher – and that around 170,000 women and girls in the UK have undergone the procedure.

A groundbreaking step in raising public awareness of the brutal procedure came recently thanks to an episode of prime time TV show Call The Midwife, which centered around an FGM survivor. Ali consulted on it and the sensitively handled episode was lauded by the NSPCC for shining a spotlight on the hugely important topic . 


If you’re worried a child is at risk of, or has had FGM, call the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550

Images: Courtesy West Midlands Police and BBC

Related

dating with bipolar.jpg

“Dating with bipolar: how I learnt to be open about my mental health”

Operner_rt.jpg

Discover the tribe in western China where women hold all the power

virago publishing.jpg

Virago publishers share the books that made them feminist

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From the Beckhams' proud moment to Serena Williams' fierce posing

by Nicola Colyer
28 Jun 2017

Michelle Rodriguez threatens to quit Fast & Furious over lack of women

“I just might have to say goodbye”

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

The decision to name Mr Big was controversial, says SATC producer

It was a last-minute script choice

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

“Why women are all beauty pageant contestants to Donald Trump”

“I bet she treats you well”

by Anna Pollitt
28 Jun 2017

Serena Williams’ reaction to her pregnancy test is refreshingly honest

Everyone needs to listen to what the tennis champion has to say

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Jennifer Lawrence proves she’s a badass dog mum when man grabs her pet

Don’t ever try to touch her dog without permission

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Amy Poehler is here to fight for your right to be an idiot

Because why should women always have to be the sensible ones?

by Moya Crockett
27 Jun 2017

OITNB’s Julie Lake on how she transforms into the delightful Angie

This is what the cast go through to inhabit their characters

by Amy Swales
27 Jun 2017

Serena Williams hits back at claim she couldn’t beat top male players

John McEnroe said Williams would be “like 700” in the men’s rankings.

by Moya Crockett
27 Jun 2017

Juror in Bill Cosby case blames victim Andrea Constand's outfit

It's 2017 and we're still blaming sexual violence on how women dress

by Elle Griffiths
27 Jun 2017