Female genital mutilation – A crime against humanity

130 million women and girls have been mutilated
Kenyan teens fight back: ‘I will never be cut’



Watch this inspiring, empowering video, ‘I will never be cut’, showing young Kenyan women organising and resisting female genital mutilation: http://bit.ly/CApoF6

“Kenya is one of 28 African countries where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised,” reports Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation..

“In Kenya, a 1991 survey found that 78 per cent of girl teenagers had been mutilated, compared to 100 per cent of women over 50. But this is changing. There is now a fourfold drop in FGM rates among Kenyan girls who have had a secondary education.

“Across Africa, about 92 million girls aged 10 years and above are thought to have undergone FGM.

“Worldwide, an estimated 130 million women and girls have been subjected to FGM, with an extra two million being mutilated every year.

“FGM is practised on young girls aged four to 15. Most are ignorant of the dangers and of the damaging health and sexual consequences. They have no choice. There is no informed consent.

There are three main types of FGM:

• The removal of the tip of the clitoris
• Total removal of the clitoris and surrounding labia
• The removal of the clitoris and labia and the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood – a process known as infibulation. This requires young brides have to be cut open to allow male penetration on their wedding night. They are often sewn up again afterwards and cut open again to give birth. Cutting and sewing may be repeated several times during the lifetime of some women.

“All three methods diminish women’s sexual pleasure, resulting in increased infections and causing urination and birth complications, including maternal and new-born deaths.

“Despite FGM being illegal in the UK, an estimated 500 to 2,000 British resident girls are subjected to FGM each year. This happens covertly in the UK or they are taken abroad by their parents for this purpose,” said Mr Tatchell.

Watch this Guardian video with testimonies from women and girl victims of FGM:

■ Reasons for FGM include conforming to social norms, enhancing sexual pleasure for men and reducing it for women, ensuring virginity and chastity.

■ No European country accepts the threat of FGM as a reason for granting women asylum.

More information:

World Health Organisation – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project: – http://www.fgmnetwork.org/index.php

UNICEF – http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_genitalmutilation.html

Amnesty International – http://tiny.cc/ext2y