The Somali community practices Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) widely because they term the act as “cleansing the genitals of the girls ” or rather the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The practice is still ongoing secretly among the villagers who whisper about it to each other. Should we blame them for this Neanderthal cultural practice? Our mothers have been circumcised by their mothers and their mothers by their mothers as it has been an ongoing generational act that showcased the transitioning to womanhood through the undergoing the cut.
According to WHO definition, female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury inflicted on the female genital organs, for reasons that are not medical.
WHO classified FGM into four major parts. Type I: “Sunna”/clitoridectomy is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce. Type II: Excision is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora. Type III: Infibulation is the narrowing of the vaginal orifice with a creation of a covering seal by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris. Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes (eg, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization).
The practice is mostly performed on girls between the ages of 0 and 15 years. In 30 African, the Middle East, and Asian countries where FGM is common, 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut, and 3 million are at risk for the practice each year in Africa.
The practice is internationally recognized as violation of the rights of both girls and women. It reflects a culturally deep-rooted inequality where there is an extreme form of discrimination between sexes.
Asha (not her name) confided in me that she has undergone the traumatic experience which affected her intimacy after she got married. She has experienced pain and almost died during childbirth. She, unfortunately has undergone Type IV FGM. She vows not to do the same to her daughter who is now 3 years of age.
Hibo Wardere, a UK based activists always voices on her social media platform that she has undergone the Type IV of the cut and she has never recovered from it. She blatantly shares her experiences about her first child birth and educates her followers the trauma that follows FGM.
Saadia Hussein a local FGM activist also shares lots of positivity for FGM survivors and champions for free FGM for girls.
FGM is a disaster that affects not only the Somali community but other indigenous communities of Kenya, it has ripped girls of their innocent childhood and caused unending pain to their lives.
(By Maryan Hajir, Asal Media correspondent)