5 October 2017

Gambia: Former Circumcizer Explains Reasons for Chucking Up Circumcision

Former circumciser and FGM practitioner, Aja Babung Sidibeh Diab, asserted that she has stopped the inhumane practice of FGM, because she observed it caused more harm than good to women and girls.

The ex-circumciser made this assertion to journalists during their media field visit organized by the UNFPA, at her residence in Janjanbureh, CRR.

Madam Sidibeh who is now an anti FGM Activist and an Influential Women's Leader in Janjanbureh, said the renown Maccarty Culture, is held at their compound in Sidibeh kunda; that her grandfather, Makang Sidibeh, was the first one to established a "Jujuo" otherwise a gathering of circumcised youth in the custody of a village elder.

"Five years ago, I circumcised sixty-three people, but two children fell ill. Some people said it is the witches and wizards that attacked them, but I said no to this and decided to take the children to the hospital," she said.

She continued: "I took them to the hospital and it was found out that it was the unsterilized knife that caused the tetanus and they were treated by the Doctors until they regained their health. Because of this experience, I called the women for a meeting and told them that I have decided to stop practicing FGM, simply because I have observed that it has caused more harm to our children and young women. Therefore, I have stopped the practice," she said.

Madame Sidibeh, stressed that she advised circumcisers that if it was her grandparents who gave them orders to circumcise, she is appealing to all of them to drop the knife."

She added that before her decision to stop the practice, she was an ardent activist against GAMCOTRAP in the region; that she usually gives orders for the women not to listen to them. But that when she stopped the practice, they (GAMCOTRAP) bought Kolanut and "took me" as their mother.

"I told them that this is my culture but I have seen that it has caused more harm to our women and girls and I will join them to stop the practice. If God wills, the knives will be dropped and from Kartong to Koina. We have begun working to ensure that the practice is stopped." she said.

The renowned Anti-FGM activist added that if her grandparents knew the health implications of FGM, they would not have practiced it.

Gambia

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