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A series of five mini documentaries, funded by Oxfordshire Public Health, that examine taboo subjects connected with sexual health and relationships within the South Asian communities have been released by the charity Oxford Against Cutting.

Oxford Against Cutting (OAC) is a rights-based group working to end harmful practices suffered by girls and women living in the Thames Valley.

These include female genital mutilation (FGM), Honour-based abuse (HBA) and early and forced marriage (EFM), and Female cosmetic genital surgery. The charity’s mission is to end cultural practices that harm girls and women by providing education, supporting survivors, raising awareness of support services and empowering young people to champion initiatives against harmful practices.

Oxford Against Cutting (OAC) is a rights-based group working to end harmful practices suffered by girls and women living in the Thames Valley.

The new films explore the topics of genetic conditions and cousin marriage, consent, contraception, conception and condoms. The second film in the series was released last week and features a group of young Asian men talking about sexual relationships and health. This week’s film is about conception with more to follow.

A group of South Asian men discuss condoms, dating and relationships in the new series of films

The first film in the series about genetic conditions and cousin marriage features Sobia Afridi and her adopted daughter Sabrena from Marston in Oxford. Sobia is a training facilitator for Oxford Against Cutting and in the film she talks candidly and openly about how Sabrena was born with a genetic condition because her birth parents were cousins.

Sobia Afridi

Sobia said: “I became involved in the film because I wanted to raise awareness of the issue of cousin marriage because this is a subject that is never discussed but is linked to genetic disorders in children.”

Sabrena, who is 17 and studying for her A levels at Cherwell School added: “My illness is called thalassaemia and I have to go to the hospital often for blood transfusions and other treatments. It is part of my life and there is nothing I can do about it – I just have to get on with it, but I wish I didn’t have it.”

Sabrena Afridi

Work on the series of films began in January this year to specifically tackle taboo subjects and to make information accessible to South Asian families.

Sobia added: “There is no shame in illness but cousin marriage is about choice and the idea behind the film is to encourage people to talk about conditions particularly if they are considering cousin marriage because it is more likely that children will be affected by them. It’s important that people know about their own health and any unusual genes that could cause problems but it is simply not talked about enough within South Asian communities.”

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