Leyla Hussein is a Somali-born gender rights campaigner on the subject of FGM, as well as a qualified psychotherapist who works one-on-one with victims of FGM. Originally from Mogadishu, Somalia, she was brought up around Saudi Arabia, Italy and the UK, (where she is currently based). Having undergone FGM at the age of 7, Leyla has since devoted her work to providing a platform for victims and those at risk, as well as pushing for an end to the practice.
FGM stands for female genital mutilation, a practice which involves the pricking, cutting and resewing of the genitalia, a horrific experience which is performed to inhibit women’s sexuality and prevent promiscuity before marriage. This issue is not very well known, despite now affecting girls all around the world, as it is thought to be an exclusively African tradition.
Leyla has, among many others, co-founded the organization “Daughters of Eve” and is involved in many others such as “the Dahlia Project” and “Hawa’s Haven”. She also presented a Channel 4 documentary on FGM and its presence in Britain called “The Cruel Cut”.
Her mission, which began by questioning the practice and the lack of effective policies put in place by governments to prevent it, started with the birth of her daughter, and a will to provide a better future for her. It has since grown to include and represent the rights of “all women”. She urges and inspires us all to be unapologetic in our demands for equality, and to continue to fight for an end to the campaign of violence and control over women’s bodies, which continues to oppress us.