“You being a girl, as my first born child, I was looking forward to the day I would have circumcised you. It would have been a great joy for me. With your circumcision, I would have become a proper wife, because I would have fulfilled my duty. Your circumcision would have been a very exciting moment for me. You would have been able to become a woman and get married. ” – Charity’s mother
"Against All Odds" is a sincere, raw and moving short film that tells the story of Charity, a young woman from the Masai Mara region of Kenya, where female genital mutilation is an obligatory rite of passage for all girls. This documentary highlights this violent tradition, rooted and perpetuated from generation to generation, mainly by women, but above all the courageous decision of Charity, the first girl in her village to say no.
She made her decision when she is 12 years old, after watching a video at school showing a young girl being cut. While she used to help the women in her village perform this archaic practice - she would pour cold water on the girls to numb their bodies - the image of this helpless, screaming girl in pain, who eventually bled to death changed Charity forever. After realizing undergoing FGM would have lasting harmful effects on her, and may even put her in danger of dying, she decides not to be cut, and her mother, in a courageous stance, her mother supports this decision, going against the strong traditions and pressures of the community.
Charity then decides to go even further, taking on an active role in fighting female genital mutilation. Through a university program, she raises awareness about the dangers of this archaic practice and works within her community to give girls the tools necessary to empower them and give them back a voice.
*Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or complete removal of a girl’s external genitals. Four categories of female genital mutilation exist ranging from excision (the partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora) to infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal). Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation and a further 3.9 million girls are at risk of being cut each year.
The Kering Foundation's partners, including La Maison des Femmes in France and Birmingham Solihull Women’s Aid in England, are working on prevention as well as improving the care to victims of female genital mutilation. La Maison des Femmes, is a safe haven for women which offers care as well as unique and comprehensive guidance, not only medical but also psychological, emotional, mental and physical. Gynaecologists, sexologists, chiropractors, police officers and lawyers listen, treat, repair and guide survivors of violence with kindness. Birmingham Solihull Women's Aid bases their support on three types of action: psychological care for victims based on the model of The Dahlia Project, a pioneering institution on mental health issues in London, training for health professionals and targeted community awareness campaigns through the recruitment, training and support of spokespersons to combat harmful attitudes.