Female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice that has persisted for centuries, belongs to a dark chapter in human history.
It is a harmful and deeply ingrained cultural tradition that has caused immeasurable physical and psychological pain to countless women and girls around the world.
As we progress into the 21st Century, it is high time we consigned FGM to the past and work collectively to eradicate it.
In some communities, FGM is justified by tradition and cultural beliefs. But these are rooted in ignorance and the subjugation of women. It has no medical or health benefits and only causes harm. The adverse consequences range from immediate complications such as severe pain, infection and bleeding to long-term issues like childbirth complications and psychological trauma.
But there is progress in the war against FGM. Numerous governments, NGOs and individual advocates tirelessly enhance awareness, change societal attitudes and implement laws and policies to prevent and penalise FGM
In 2022, the UN established the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Celebrated every February 6, it emphasizes the global commitment to ending the vice.
Education is a crucial tool in eradicating FGM. Enlightening communities about the physical and psychological risks of the vice can shift attitudes and foster a greater understanding of the importance of gender equality and women’s rights. Empowering women and girls to speak out against FGM is equally vital.
It is imperative for governments and NGOs to work together to enact and enforce legislation against FGM. That should not only criminalise FGM but also provide support and services for survivors and potential victims. Coupled with educational initiatives, that can lead to a significant reduction in the vice.
FGM is a horrific tradition that has persisted for far too long. It is a blatant violation of human rights that perpetuates gender inequality and discrimination.
To consign FGM to the bad past, where it belongs, we must continue to raise awareness, educate communities and enact and enforce strict laws against it. It’s time we said ‘No’ to FGM and buried this dangerous tradition.
- Victor Ouko, Migori