„Speech is a weapon” (Kurt Tucholsky)

Linguistic science proves the enormous power of words: “Speech reflects and creates reality”, or “Speech creates visions – and these visions influence reality”.

Because change in both the collective and individual consciousness is due to the new perception of the reality of genital mutilation, language and its terms and concepts must play an essential part of this process.

The use of euphemistic terms within public relations, for example “circumcision”, creates harmless associations, thereby preventing a change in the public awareness which is necessary within Germany for the people to face up to their responsibility for the threatened and affected girls within our country.

Within its public relations campaign the “Task Force for Effective Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation” has committed itself to the mission of changing awareness within the largest African network, the Inter-African Comittee on Traditional Practices (IAC).

The members of the IAC, who represent 29 African countries, committed themselves during their 2005 summit in Bamako to persuade the public to use the term “female genital mutilation” and refrain from the use of “harmless” terms. Please see the BAMAKO-Declaration

A collection of answers from the African IAC members to the WHO with regard to the question of how they view the more “harmless” variations of the term genital mutilation.