The Chilling Face of Cowardice and the Perils of Political Correctness on International Women's Day

Such a comment is beneath you, Holmes. It shows me very clearly that you are unwell.
— The Adventures of the Dying Detective, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Truth is stranger than fiction, even the fiction of the great British crime author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yet, Doyle’s ‘dying detective’ is alive and unwell in not-so-merry Old England. The comment heard round the world was the utterance by British Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet, who oversees the crimes of honor violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

After two unresponsive requests to top cop Balhatchet from Jonathan Nicholas, a former police officer, as to why there has yet to be a single conviction for female genital mutilation, Commander Balhatchet responded that: “There are many nuances to this crime type, which even third-sector charitable organizations, do not claim to share a nexus with your rationale of concerns for the lack of successful prosecutions [sic].”

What, pray tell, could be the baffling nuances which prevent British prosecutions of female genital mutilation? A good question for International Women’s Day, especially as FGM is recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Twenty-six states and the federal government have criminalized FGM, and anti-FGM efforts are underway in several other states.

But in the UK, could the so-called nuance be the lack of actual incidents of female genital mutilation?

Hardly. According to the UK National Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), there are an estimated 137,000 women and children affected by FGM in England and Wales.

Could the so-called nuance be the lack of a hotline to report FGM to the authorities?

Hardly. The NSPCC operates a free, 24/7 hotline to report any child at risk of female genital mutilation. Since June 2013, they have received 1,500 contacts about FGM.

Could the so-called nuance be the lack of referrals to law enforcement by the hotline?

Hardly. More than one-third of those hotline calls were referred to law enforcement and child welfare services.

Could the so-called nuance be the lack of a comprehensive UK government policy on female genital mutilation?

Hardly. The UK has a 78-page multi-agency statutory guidance on FGM pursuant to the Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003 and extends to England and Wales only.

This article originally appeared on

ArticleLara Barger