Friday, March 30, 2012

Men Forcing Wives To Undergo Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the most horrifying rituals still practiced today. And it's not just Muslims chopping off the genitals of young girls, Christians in Africa are just as guilty, in spite of widespread efforts to ban the practice.  In fact, according to one report out of Kenya,  people are going out of their way to ensure that the tradition lives on by changing the season in which it's performed- from December to August, avoid media spotlight and scrutiny from Government agencies.

FGM is performed on girls as young as a few days old and usually through puberty, but now per that same report, married women who were mercifully spared the knife as young girls are being forced to have the procedure done.

"Those who evaded the cut are now being forced to undergo the cultural practice or their husbands be denied land inheritance," said Women Rights Institute for Peace (Wrip) Executive Director Mariam Suleiman while releasing the report.

This was after Wrip undertook project activities geared towards preventing attempts to subject girls to the cut in November and December in Baringo County.

Suleiman said husbands force their wives to undergo the cut to avoid missing out on family inheritance.

Some chiefs and their assistants from the areas were accused of shielding FGM perpetrators from prosecution.

Circumcision period

"In East Pokot District the community in collusion with the Provincial Administration has changed the circumcision period from December to August to avoid the public, Government and media focus that comes at the end of the year," Wrip Executive Director stated.

She added that those who escaped the practice midyear are forced by their relatives to undergo the cut in December.

The report showed that only 99 girls underwent the cut in the months of November and December while 125 escaped and sought refuge in churches and at homes of relatives who are against the vice.

Suleiman further stated that lack of awareness of constitutional rights has made some girls not to seek legal action against perpetrators of the vice for fear of reprisals from their parents.

"There is need to educate them on laws, the court processes and the outcome especially on the fact that moving to court will not have their parents arrested," she said.

The Wrip boss urged anti-FGM stakeholders to let the campaigns be a continuous process to end the vice.

It's all about control. Shameful.

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