Kampala — It is child abuse for parents to pull the clitoris of their female children as a cultural practice aimed at ushering them into woman hood, former executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority has said.
Dr Maggie Kigozi said the cultural practice is another form of female genital mutilation (FGM) and that it should be stopped.
"Pulling of the clitoris is another form of FGM, please parents, leave the young ones alone. They feel uncomfortable when pulling them, leave them to grow and they decide for themselves... ," Dr Kigozi said at the launch of Tu Wezesha Akina Dada project in Kampala last Friday.
The project is aimed at tackling gender-based violence.
"If girls are 18 years and above, they are allowed to do anything they want but doing that to them while they are still children is child abuse...," she said.
Labia stretching, also known as labia elongation or pulling, is done for sexual enjoyment and gratification for both partners since elongated labia are perceived to facilitate orgasm and female ejaculation.
The executive director of Akina Mama Wa Afrika, an NGO, Ms Eunice Musiime, also accused parents of promoting sexual violence against girls by seeking for out-of-court settlement of cases with the perpetrator.
Ms Naana Otoo-Oyortey, the executive director of Forward, a UK-based women organisation, called on the Uganda government to fulfil its obligations of protecting young women from all forms of sexual violence.
In Uganda, the people of central, western and eastern regions practice labia modification. The length to which the labia is pulled varies, with the Banyankore and Batooro preferring several dangling inches while Baganda favour them protruding no more than an inch.