200 million women and girls have survived genital mutilation — and they’re pushing for an end to the practice on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Esther, a FGM survivor stated, “I’m already a victim, so I don’t want for my children to be a victim [of FGM]. That’s why I took them from here and carried them to the town.”
FGM involves altering or injuring a women’s genitals and can cause serious bleeding and sometimes death. Esther was only three when she was circumcised.
This dangerous practice was banned in Uganda in 2010, but the custom is still enacted occasionally, because it “keeps Pokot wives faithful.”
Christine Chepetemo, another survivor stated, “Each time I give birth, the doctors have to cut me open again. In the hospital, they tell us to stop circumcision because it’s not good, because we are suffering.”
FGM has no medical purpose and is internationally considered a human rights violation. However, it is still happening in at least 30 countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Each year, 180,000 girls in Europe are also at risk of FGM and many are sent abroad to get the procedure.
In Liberia, where half of women have been cut, the first female president recently signed an executive order to finally ban the practice. Hopefully, with implementations like this, the horrible procedure will eventually be diminished for good.