We should all come together to eradicate ‘The Uncultured Cut’

Joseph Okwisia
5 Min Read

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an age-old cultural practice that affects millions of women and girls around the globe. FGM is the cutting, removal or injuring of the female genital organs with the aim of curbing sexual pleasure and desire. It is a harmful traditional practice with no health benefits and can cause long-term physical and psychological consequences, including pain, infection, infertility and even death. It is a serious violation of human rights and has no place in today’s society

The effects of FGM are far reaching and have a long-term impact on the health and well-being of those affected, FGM can lead to a variety of health complications including severe bleeding, infections, infertility, cysts, and an increased risk of child birth complications. In addition, it can also increase the risk of HIV transmission and cause psychological trauma. The psychological effects can include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

FGM also has a significant impact on the social and economic lives of those affected. The practice can result in isolation from families, communities and peers, as well as a lack of education or employment opportunities. Moreso, girls and women who have undergone the cut may be at an increased risk of violence and exploitation.

The world Health organization (WHO) estimates that more than 200million women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM, and that number is rising. This is a harmful practice that is affecting girls in many countries, including India, Egypt, Sudan and Somalia.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), about 21 percent of women and girls in Kenya have undergone FGM. This shocking statistic highlight the prevalence of this dangerous practice.

Having observed The International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on February 6, 2023 under the theme, ‘Partnership with men and boys to transform social and gender norms to end FGM’, it is imperative for us to take steps the necessary steps to eradicate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

In order to effectively eradicate FGM, there is a need for integrated approach which includes the involvement of multiple stakeholders including government, civil society, human rights and health organizations, and the media too. A strong legal and policy framework is essential to ensure that FGM is criminalized and that those who practice it are held accountable.

Education and awareness are also key components in the fight against FGM. It is important to educate girls and their families about the dangerous consequences of this practice. It is also important to raise awareness among health providers about FGM and the physical and psychological consequences for women and girls.

Finally, there is need to empower women and girls to make informed decisions about their bodies, and to ensure that they have comprehensive health care services. This includes providing access to safe and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including services related to FGM prevention and care.

The Kenyan government has taken steps to end this practice and protect women and girls. In 2011, the Kenyan government passed the prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, which made FGM illegal. The government has also implemented a multi-sectoral approach to address FGM, which includes educating communities about the dangers of FGM, providing alternative rites of passage and increasing access to health services for survivors.

Despite these efforts, FGM remains a major concern in Kenya. The practice is deeply entrenched in cultural norms and practices, and is often seen as a way to ensure the girls remain ‘pure’ and ‘chaste’. Moreover, FGM is often performed without the consent of the girl or her parents, which makes it even more to eradicate.

The only way to truly end FGM in Kenya is to tackle the underlying social norms and attitudes that perpetuate the practice. This will require educating communities about the harms, as well as providing alternative rites of passage and support services for survivors. It is only through collective action and a commitment to change that we can end this devastating practice and protect the rights of women and girls in Kenya.

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