Hanze University of Applied Sciences is the largest knowledge institute in the northern part of the Netherlands, offering various Bachelor's and Master programmes in multiple languages. This technical & vocational institution is known for its personal approach to education and its combined theoretical and practical approach to programmes.
Our guest lecture was part of the course ‘Child Abuse and Domestic Violence’, which is a 7-week course offered to students from various schools of Hanze University, including nursing, physiotherapy, social studies, health care studies, applied psychology.
Dr. Annemarie Middelburg joined forces with her friend and FGM/C activist Istahil Abdulahi. They started the lecture with a personal story of Istahil. As a survivor of FGM/C, she shared her personal experiences and the impact it had on her live. Afterwards, Dr. Annemarie addressed the different forms of FGM/C, the countries of origin, the prevalence of the practice in the Netherlands, the laws and existing protocols, and the various ways of identifying and preventing it as wel as the possibility of clitoral reconstructive surgery. The session was very interactive, allowing students to share their ideas and ask all different types of questions. As always, students were impressed and touched by the courage of Istahil and asked many questions.
Teaching the new generation of professionals who will encounter and possibly support FGM/C survivors at some point in their careers is always a rewarding experience. We believe that giving students a more comprehensive understanding of the practice is crucial, and allowing them to take the survivor’s experience and perspective at heart even more so. It is a way to instigate the emotional intelligence required to provide the assistance women with FGM/C will need, and to help them learn to identify risk situations more efficiently.