Female Genital Mutilation
The immediate and long-term effects of the Female Genital Mutilation ritual perpetrated on girls are well before puberty and yet they have devastating consequences to their health and well being to an extent that they all but destroy the quality of life.
Female genital mutilation is often times performed by women on other women and young girls yet the men who are the driving force and proponents of the vice are far removed from the act itself. For us at the Coexist Initiative, female genital mutilation is part of a continuum of female body and sexuality control.
It’s a practice carried out by women for the benefit of men and for the validation of the invisible hand of patriarchy. The privileging of males that go with patriarchal systems make female genital mutilation a requirement for women’s survival not a choice and this we resolutely refuse. The practice of female genital mutilation has been marginalized as a cultural issue yet it remains one of the
worst violations of human rights for women and girls among communities that still practice it.
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Female genital mutilation is a manifestation of unequal relations between women and men with roots in deeply entrenched social, economic and political conventions. We insist that the fundamental role of men cannot be over emphasized in efforts to eradicate FGM.
In a nutshell, FGM is universally considered a practice resulting from patriarchal societies and the subsequent powerlessness of women and girls. It is considered to be rooted in male dominated societies that have attempted to subjugate women and repress their sexuality. Experts agree that girls are subjected to FGM in order to fit into the predetermined gender power balance equation dominated by negative masculinity and sustained by patriarchy. We insist that FGM is majorly driven by the girl’s suitability for marriage and men’s support is vital if the vice has to be eradicated. There needs to emerge a purposeful drive towards a transformation in attitudes among men and boys who are the custodians of outdated cultural practices.