Conrad Liveris

About Conrad Liveris

Conrad Liveris is a community advocate and operations analyst working in policy and business development with a focus on gender equality and intergenerational issues.

Smoke Signal: Our world has no place for FGM

In an already troubled world, FGM adds yet another level of depravity that Conrad Liveris wants stamped out – and our military and political leaders must deal with it now.


The world is a fairly devastating place at the moment – it is safe to say that our news is dominated by depressing news.

When thinking about war, there is much to consider. What we often fail to forget in our personal dialogues of saying “that’s so terrible” or “how unfortunate” is that some people are having their genitals mutilated.

Consider your own genitalia being cut or burned or amputated or a heinous concoction of more than one. It is a completely immoral, degrading, dehumanising and down-right offensive act.

Militaries of all dimensions have an issue with women, largely side-lined and perpetual victims who face the horrors of war greater than anyone else. Women are consistently the primary victims of sex crimes and gendered attacks. When reports surfaced last week alleging ISIS might be targeting women in Iraq for female genital mutilation (FGM) I couldn’t think of anything more sickening. While these reports are to be questioned, FGM is unfortunately common in war and battle.

FGM is seen most commonly in two scenarios – either when a party is losing a war or when they fear a backlash and believe that it helps them cement their power – clearly, it is pure fear-mongering. Mark Walters from the University of Sussex has suggested that perhaps gender-motivated attacks, in war and our communities, could be considered crimes of hate.

One of the reasons that FGM is undertaken is because it makes recovery from rape and sexual violence more difficult – an unadulterated hate-filled evil that festers in times of war.

Even if ISIS aren’t committing FGM and the reports are wrong, it is still present in Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and the wider Middle East and North African region.

With 130 million women and girls suffering through FGM and associated tactics, this is an issue that military and political leaders must actively counter.

We can’t accept this, don’t accept and should never let ghastly attacks like this become commonplace.

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