The Role of the Law In the Fight to End Female Genital Mutilation

In recent years, the practice of female genital mutilation, more commonly referred to as FGM, has garnered a significant amount of attention at both the national and international levels. The part that the law ought to play in addressing a social practice that is firmly rooted in cultural beliefs and standards is one of the topics that generates the most heated debate. The recent passage of criminal laws in many African countries that prohibit female genital mutilation (FGM) has established a role for laws in advancing the process of social change. The question of whether the language of human rights is meaningful and appropriate for the majority of women who are affected by the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is another question that is frequently asked.

There are many distinct cultural practices that involve the act of cutting or mutilating female genitalia, the procedure is typically carried out on young girls anywhere from the ages of four to twelve. In some societies, the procedure may take place few days after the baby is born, while in others, it may not take place until just before marriage or after the first pregnancy. In most cases, female genital mutilation (FGM) is carried out by a traditional practitioner who hails from a family in which previous female members have carried out the procedure. The potential for both physical and psychological harm associated with the practice has been the primary focus regarding it. Nevertheless, the act itself is, at its core, a violation of the right to physical integrity of girls and women, as well as a violation of a number of other human rights that are universally recognized. As a result, female genital mutilation (FGM) is increasingly being talked about and dealt with in the context of girls’ and women’s rights, rather than as a strictly medical issue.

According to the center for reproductive rights, the four primary justifications that are cited for female genital mutilation are as follows:

Custom and tradition: Communities that continue the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) do so in order to maintain their traditional customs and to protect their cultural identities.

Women’s sexuality: Society makes an effort to exert control over women’s sexuality by limiting the sexual satisfaction they experience. It is essential to emphasize that female genital mutilation is a cultural rather than a religious practice. In point of fact, female genital mutilation (FGM) is performed by members of the Jewish faith, the Christian faith, the Muslim faith, and other indigenous African religions in Africa; however, none of these faiths mandates its performance.

Pressure from society: In a society in which the vast majority of women have had their genitalia cut off, family and friends can foster an atmosphere in which the act of circumcision is made into a prerequisite for gaining social acceptance.

Our position is that female genital mutilation (FGM) needs to be acknowledged as a violation of the human rights of women and girls, and that it cannot be separated from other forms of discrimination against women that run much deeper and are more pervasive. As part of our efforts to combat female genital mutilation (FGM), we launched the stopcut project. Through our capacity building program, we have educated a significant number of women and girls, primarily in rural and educational settings, about the risks associated with female genital mutilation (FGM).

Fighting for the rights of women and girls is more than just a way for us to help humanity; it is also a calling and a responsibility that we have accepted. As part of our stopcut project, we are currently hosting a radio program on women radio 91.7 called Let’s talk FGM. The program airs every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., and during that time, we invite experts to discuss a variety of topics related to the practice. Our mission is to create awareness throughout society about how to put an end to the savage behavior. We would be so grateful if you could tune in every Wednesday to join the conversation as we work together to put an end to female genital mutilation (FGM).

Please visit stopcut.hacey.orgĀ for additional details regarding our stopcut project.

Written By Adegboye Michael

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