Kenya: Teen Mother Tells Court She Chose to Undergo FGM

Pupils who underwent an alternative rite of passage (file photo).
2 September 2020

A 17-year old mother yesterday narrated to a Maua magistrate's court how she underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) in order to be accepted in the family of her child's father.

Clutching her child, the young mother who together with two other minors underwent the cut last week, said she bowed to pressure.

Maua Senior Principal Magistrate Tito Gesora took issue with the police for arresting and seeking to arraign in court the three minors alongside their mothers, and ordered their release.

Need care

He declined to take their plea when they were presented in the dock. He said the girls were indeed children in need of care and protection, and should not have been dragged to court, days after undergoing the cut.

Two of the girls' mothers denied subjecting their daughters to harmful rites, namely FGM, that negatively affected their social and psychological development.

They also denied failing to prevent or to report after their children were circumcised at Kamani village, Igembe North, Meru County.

Ms Doris Kagendo, an accused, denied performing illegal genital mutilation at Kamani village, Igembe North on August 21, 2020.

Cohabiting

The three women were released on a Sh50,000 bond each and the hearing fixed for November 4, 2020.

The young mother told the magistrate that she had already started cohabiting with her child's father, and the family had insisted she undergoes the cut to fit in.

"I was told to undergo the cut as a condition to continue staying in the home. I did it out of my own persuasion after giving it some thought," she told Mr Gesora.

Another girl, 15, said she lived with her grandmother while the other said they are poor.

The magistrate gave Sh600 for their transport and instructed the officer who had escorted them to ensure they got home.

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