I’ve been reading a lot about female genital mutilation (FGM) in the news lately. Frankly, it beggars belief that people still engage in this practice.
If you’re of African descent, then this won’t be alien to you as it’s a practice that’s deep rooted in a lot of African cultures.
The closest I came to the topic while growing up was watching various Nollywood movies highlighting the topic. This led to a lot of awareness of the dangers and horrors of the practice and I feel it also went a long way in stemming the trend and I must have naively assumed that it had put an end to it too.
The way it was talked about in Nigeria back then gave one the impression that this was something that only went on in the villages, amongst illiterate communities who were still living in the shadows of our past.
In light of recent findings here in the UK, this is obviously not the case. FGM is STILL widely practiced amongst some African communities, even when they are miles away from the continent.
I am all for keeping African traditions and culture alive but this is one of those times when common sense must prevail over and above our desire to uphold degrading and archaic practices within our culture.
Every culture or ethnic group in the world have engaged in practices they aren’t too keen to be associated with in the past and have long since taken the honourable route of abandoning these acts and evolving.
Why should Africans be any different? We’ve made remarkable progress over the years in educating ourselves and moving on from degrading practices such as this so it is nothing short of shocking that some selfish people still go out of their way to inflict these mental and physical scars on innocent young girls.
The primary reason for this inexcusable mutilation cannot even be proven. According to tradition, removing the frontal part of a female’s genitals apparently makes her less susceptible to promiscuity. Anyone who buys into this ideology surely needs their heads examined.
As far as I know, sexual promiscuity was in existence even when women were generally circumcised. Removing one’s clitoris might reduce your chances of attaining sexual pleasure but won’t deter you from fooling around if you really wanted to.
Let’s even assume for a moment that this mutilation actually had some merit and could prevent a girl from sleeping around. How can you predict that a girl who’s barely a teenager, would go on to become promiscous? What gives you the right to make that call now, even before she can prove her innocence to the contrary?
Subjecting girls to FGM is basically condemning them for a crime their guardians think they ‘might’ commit in future. It’s a game of probability with devastating odds for the victims.
If you have been a victim of FGM and have suffered emotional and physical trauma as a result of It, surely, the right thing to do is to prevent others from suffering the same fate rather than seek retribution for your sufferings by making sure others endure the same fate.
FGM was widely practiced in our parent’s generation and most of them will tell you it is not an experience to be relived. I brought up the topic with my mum last week and received a shocking revelation.
I was this close to being circumcised while I was little. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Apparently, I have my father to thank for outrightly refusing to put his daughter through such a horrible experience.
Needless to say I love my dad even more than ever and I will forever be indebted to him for that pivotal decision.
When I asked my mum why on earth she even considered it in the first place, she simply replied, it was the norm. You didn’t question it, you just did it.
I was appalled. I promptly told her that had she gone ahead with it, I’d never have forgiven for mutilating me, to which she replied, just thank God you weren’t born a generation earlier.
The only problem is she was wrong. This is not a thing of the past; it’s still going on, silently, dangerously underneath our noses.
It’s a selfish crime. It’s a betrayal of the trust between the parent and child. It’s dangerous and involves excruciating pain and agony that could have devastating effects for the victim in future.
Whatever your reasons for justifying it, it’s baseless and it must end now.