To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation / Circumcision / Cutting (FGM/C), NETFA Leadership Program participant, Lara Cristina Cruz, interviews Dr. Veena Barsiwal, a doctor and counsellor.
Dr. Barsiwal speaks about the importance of bodily autonomy, bodily integrity, and its relevance to the practice of FGM/C. Dr. Barsiwal also introduces a counselling modality she has coined called VAB: Voice, Actualize, and Balance.
Presenter: Lara Cristina Cruz with guest, Dr. Veena Barsiwal
Content warning and support
This podcast series contains important stories and conversations about Female Gentle Mutilation/ Circumcision / Cutting. Some listeners may find this triggering.
Links to support resources and support services are available on the NETFA website, please visit https://netfa.com.au/for-individuals/
About the “Fresh voices on FGM/C” podcast series
This podcast series about FGM/C was co-created with women who graduated from the inaugural National Education Toolkit for FGM/C Awareness (NETFA) Leadership Program, which is coordinated by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH).
Currently in Australia, stories about the practice are too often crafted and told by people without a nuanced understanding of the practice of FGM/C. Such narratives risk further stigmatizing the people and communities affected by FGM/C.
Through the NETFA Leadership Program, MCWH collaborated with 12 migrant and refugee women from communities affected by FGM/C, who are now living in Australia. The Program equipped participants with information about FGM/C as well as storytelling skills.
The podcast series includes stories from survivors, community advocates and health professionals who are all passionate about ending the practice and improving the quality of care for people affected by FGM/C. By supporting women from affected communities to be the drivers of their own narratives, MCWH aims to support community-led solutions to FGM/C.
This podcast series was created by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health in collaboration with 3CR Community Radio in Narrm, Melbourne.
Background on FGM/C in the Australian context
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), there are an estimated “53,000 girls and women born elsewhere but now living in Australia (who) have undergone FGM/C.”1
In Australia, there are no consistent guidelines related to culturally responsive, and trauma informed care for FGM/C, and those impacted by FGM/C can experience further stigma and shame when engaging with the healthcare system.
To overcome this, the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health supports community-led, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed solutions to ending FGM/C, which empower communities to lead the work in the prevention of FGM/C and in supporting community members affected by FGM/C.