Gendered Violence 7c - Mutilating values


Mutilating values

An illustration shows the silhouette of a woman with her hands holding her stomach. She is standing behind a chain-link fence that has a tear in it. She is standing behind the void.

[imagecaption] Illustration: BuzzFeed/Getty Images. [/imagecaption]


In 2018 details emerged of a Somali refugee, held on Nauru since 2014, who had to seek an urgent court ruling before being brought to Australia for an abortion. The woman, who had been subjected to infibulation, was in need of specialist medical attention to ensure her safety, but the Australian Border Force authorities argued for her to be taken to Taiwan for the abortion, despite the fact that there were no facilities or staff with experience of treating patients who had undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) in that country.

The spectacle of lawyers for the Australian government arguing the size of the woman’s vaginal opening underlines the extent of the political zeal to prevent refugees entering Australia. While equality of women and men before the law is often held up as a core Australian value, this value patently does not extend to the principle of equal access to medical attention for refugee women.




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