It is time to let go of these African cultures and traditions : Female Genital Mutilation

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I am gonna be honest. I didn’t know how to talk about this.

It is the reason that I spent the whole of today reading and watching documentaries and testimonials to understand better.

I feel like sometimes we live in a bubble whereby if an issue doesn’t touch us directly we shy away from it, or avoid conversations about the issue all together… Bury it from our lives.

That’s what I did with FGM.

Apart from it being an answer to questions I was asked in class, Female Genital Mutilation was a theory to me, and I was blind to it. I knew some women were mutilated, forced to experience this intolerable pain, and a lifetime of it, but that’s all I knew.

The second time I had a conversation about FGM apart from a little bit learning about FGM in class, was when a friend of mine told me he once when to a ‘ceremony’ where by girls were being mutilated.

I remember being shocked.

ยฐThat, FGM was still being practiced.

ยฐThat people actually went to see the girls being physically harmed for the sake of control.

ยฐThat I didn’t know about this before.

After that conversation in college, I remember not talking about it ever again, until today.. When I was watching the documentaries of girls who have been mutilated, of Jaha Dukureh, and in tears read the websites of several organizations that lead the fight against FGM.

For those who don’t know, Female Genital Mutilation is an act of cutting young girls clitoris.. For several reasons, some being, controlling her sexual desire, preparing her for child marriage, a belief that her future husband will get more sexual pleasure because of FGM, and also doing it because of culture and traditions.

As much as I feel and know how sensitive this topic is, I first want to address the issue of culture.

I think culture is changeable, it is a way of life. Years ago we were wearing clothes made from trees, today we are wearing clothes from cotton.. Change

As much as African culture is beautiful and I celebrate being African everyday, I feel like we can still celebrate our culture and work on changing some ways of life that are affecting us.

Saying that we as a society need to stop FGM, It is not an attack in culture or that in totality our culture is bad, but there are things that we should stop doing because of their impacts in our society.

By banning and ending Female Genital Mutilation we are protecting women from lifetime of pain, possible death during the process, pain during sex, causes health complications in the future, disease like HIV and more health dangers that arise because of FGM.

There is death, harm, pain and maternal and child health in danger, all in the name of keeping our culture.

Is it worth it?

In many African families, women are the backbone of our families, shouldn’t we care about their health? And in that way change our culture.

We as a community can decide what stays or leaves, we can decide the way we want to live, what is considered acceptable and what is not. Harming and controlling women should not acceptable.

I also think women are born complete.

A woman is clean even without circumcision..

We don’t need to ‘correct’ God by modifying what He created.

Women are not objects to be fixed or controlled.

And i think FGM is an act of control.

Its an act of control over female bodies for male pleasures

Imagine if it were you, to have to be accepted by your own people in your community, you have to put your own life in danger, what would you have done?

FGM leaves a wound that lasts for a lifetime, physical and psychological.. Would it be easy for you to take the betrayal, the pain that your own community inflicted on you for the rest of your life?

Imagine having to run from your own people because they want to harm you or endanger your life..

You suffer behind closed door in front of a community..

Do we still want to traumatize the women in our society because of culture?

I think we need to end FGM because we need a community of women that are in control of their bodies, we need to reduce the risks of maternal and child health, we need a community of girls who are raised to be leaders not child brides, we need women who are free to enjoy their sexual pleasure as God intended them to.. Because when God created us, He made us complete and clean.

Eunice

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