Posted by: Staff | 04.06.2009

Female Genital Mutilation: What It Is and What You Can Do

MAEVE WILLIAMS ’10

Female Genital Mutilation is a term rarely used in conversation, yet is one of the most significant human rights violations currently taking place. The term refers to all procedures that remove all or part of female genitalia for cultural, religious, or traditional reasons. It is most prevalent in Africa; however, this exercise exists all across the globe. Certain cultures believe that the cutting prevents diseases, improves feminine hygiene, and most importantly, preserves family honor. The act is most common in the most northeastern countries in Africa, such as Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Over 90% of women have had some part of their genitalia removed in Sudan, Egypt, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali, and Somalia. The laws that have been put in place to eliminate or restrict the mutilation of female genitalia are basically nonexistent in that they are rarely enforced. In some countries the laws solely punish the women who have been mutilated, even though they had no say in the matter.

I had considered myself very well educated, up to date on current events, and in tune with the world before learning about this issue for English class. I had heard of the act before, but figured it only existed in a very limited number of tribes in Africa. Well, my “cultured” self was in for a shock. When researching, I found facts upon facts about this prevalent practice that made it sometimes unbearable to continue reading. This issue, fairly new to me a week ago, has seriously caught my attention to the point that I am researching more articles on the topic and more new and easy ways to take action against it.

This issue of Female Genital Mutilation rarely gets attention, but there are numerous acts one can take to halt this horrid act from continuing and spreading. The easiest thing to do is to vote to make genital mutilation an issue that the Obama administration should fight by establishing an account and clicking vote through https://www.change.org/ideas/view/stop_female_genital_mutilation_worldwide#. You can also opt to sign a petition that will go to the President and Congress at http://www.petitiononline.com/fgm2003/petition.html. These are some quick and easy steps to help eliminate Female Genital Mutilation that take less than a minute of your time. If there are further steps you would like to take there are numerous organizations and groups that would love your help! Email me at williamsm10@bcdschool.org for more links to sites and to do your part in ending this serious violation of human rights.

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Responses

  1. As a group interested in Music and Television from Djibouti, I find your blog pretty interesting, “Somali Music and Video Maryam Mursal Minneapolis World Beat” I will keep checking for additions.
    Well written, thank you 🙂


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