6 February 2013

Africa: Saying No to Female Genital Mutilation Today and Every Day

6 February is observed as FGM Day. That's short for the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. In recent years, RNW has covered the topic in various forms of content, the highlights of which are summarized here.

FGM, also referred to as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is believed to affect an estimated 140 million girls and women. According to the World Health Organization, it offers no known medical benefits and has been associated with physical, sexual and mental health risks. For more basic facts, read this handy overview. To see where FGM is most commonly practised, check out this map.

Interested in more personal accounts of those affected by the circumcision? This is the story of a 28 year old from Darfur whose clitoris and labia were removed when she was a girl. She has since moved to the Netherlands and decided to consider having reconstructive genital surgery.

But in rural Uganda, as this article illustrates, the Sabiny are still practising FGM, despite its being nationally outlawed in 2009.

For another perspective on tradition, read this piece about how a community of mothers in Ethiopia is not passing the FGM ritual down to their daughters. There have been other successful campaigns to ban FMG on the continent and in the diaspora, as this edition of Africa in Progress further reports.

Meanwhile, can women who have undergone genital cutting still experience an orgasm? According to the study described here, yes, some can.

Finally, why is FGM such a taboo that it's even difficult to cover as a journalist? This interview from Liberia with UN correspondent Rousbeh Legatis sheds some light.

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