Saturday, 11 January 2014

The dilemma female genital mutilation among victims

Female genital mutilation makes a permanent mark on the victims, physically, mentally, sexually and psychologically. In most cases (Type 1 and 11 as well as infibulations) the girls are taken away to be mutilated without knowing. The practice, done in secrecy does not leave any of the victims free to talk to others. All they are told is, “This is what a woman has to endure. You have to do this because every woman does it’’. Victims are given no choice but swear to secrecy before and after the procedure. In my case I only got to hear people talk about female circumcision in high school. It was clear that female genital mutilation and talking about it was going to cause grief. A few girls had not gone through the procedure and the rest had. Those who had not done the procedure felt as if they had destroyed their lives and chances of getting married. It seemed as if they would be feeling ostracised for the rest of their lives since not having gone through circumcision was regarded as a failure and would result in the girls not securing a husband. It has to be remembered that in many African communities marriage is one of the most important things in a woman’s life. Failure to secure a husband has always been considered to bring shame to families. For the girls there is pressure is every where- from the family, society and friends. The pressure and trauma resulting from this led to some of the girls loosing their self esteem. There were divisions as those who had had the procedure felt like the heroines. This was just a pressure uncalled for and made some girls stay away from normal day to day activities. Shame and being made to feel inferior also affected some of the girls. Being one of those girls I was not sure I had done the right thing. I had ignored my grandmother‘s call for me to pull my clitoris.

The point I am making is that sometimes in communities and households, the pressure to do what everyone else is doing can be huge. People get scared of being shunned and would always want to be part of a group.

However with FGM it should not be so. FGM is child and women abuse and should not be seen as a social identification. It is a shame that some older women in some parts of Africa have had to be infibulated well into adulthood because an aunt or mother in law felt it was wrong not to have done it.


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