#MeTooFGM campaign garners huge support across social media

A worldwide social media campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) has almost doubled its target before it began.

With the backing of the #MeToo movement, Ifrah Ahmed, a survivor of the barbaric practice has vowed to continue her fight to have the practice outlawed around the world.

"Today 200 million women worldwide are living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation and 100 million are at risk of being circumcised," she said.

"It is amazing really. I wasn't sure that I'd get this support, that I'd have this number or that all this would happen."

Ifrah Ahmed (Niall Carson/PA)
Ifrah Ahmed (Niall Carson/PA)

The 29-year-old, who was born in Somalia, said the practice is happening outside of developing countries, including reports of it happening in the UK.

Ms Ahmed, who lives in Dublin and is an Irish citizen, helped organise this week's demonstration which is supported by celebrities like Irish singer Imelda May.

Activists marked zero tolerance day for FGM with a million #MeToo sexual harassment campaigners using the hashtag #MeTooFGM to indicate their support.

Ms Ahmed, who had secured the support of the previous government in Somalia to outlaw FGM, said she is renewing her fight with the new administration.

"They have not talked about female genital mutilation in the country at all," she said.

"I built something and I introduced the former government and now it looks like again I have to go to the Government and start again and explain they have to fight and legislate."

Ahmed was born in Somalia and survived the barbaric practice (Niall Carson/PA)
Ahmed was born in Somalia and survived the barbaric practice (Niall Carson/PA)

As the campaign reached the point of a Thunderclap on social media, with supporters taking to the twittersphere using the #MeTooFGM hashtag at 2pm on Tuesday, the target for midnight was already being passed.

It was designed to draw global attention to the UN day to end FGM.

It spread across six continents by activists.

The forcible removal of a girl's sexual organs to control her sexuality has been going on since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs.

FGM comprises all procedures involving altering or injuring female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, according to the UN.

Girls aged 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, most commonly in Gambia, Mauritania and Indonesia.

The procedure is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, the UN protest organisers said.

It causes severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth.

The #MeToo movement began after claims of serious sexual misconduct surfaced in Hollywood allegedly involving producer Harvey Weinstein.