Carib Key Advocacy

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Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation in One Generation

Unicef has sought to coordinate a strategy to achieve an end to female genital mutilation or cutting in one generation. We are aware that what we are doing is but a very small step, but a step nonetheless. Raising awareness of a problem of this magnitude though for the most part occuring outside of the boundaries of the Caribbean is still important.

"Every year, three million girls are subjected to genital mutilation/cutting, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening procedure that causes unspakable pain and suffering. This practice violates girls and women's basic human rights, denying them of their physical and metal integrity, their right to freedom from violence and discrimination, and in the most extreme case, of their life."

UNICEF estimates that more than 130 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital circumcision to date.

At least 6,000 girls each day-are at risk.

The practice, which is generally done without anesthetic, may have lifelong health consequences including chronic infection, severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth, not to mention psychological trauma.

Female circumcision is mainly practiced in the name of tradition and culture, as an initiation rite. The practice is one of the rituals that defines who is in the culture. A number of other reasons are put forward - these include the belief that it annuls or moderates sexual desire in women. Despite widespread documentation of infection, it is also believed to be more hygienic.

 CountryPrevalence (%)
 Benin 17
 Burkina Faso 77
 Cameroon 1
 Central African Republic 36
 Chad 45
 Cote-d'Ivoire 45
 Djibouti 98
 Egypt 96
 Eritrea 89
 Ethiopia 74
 Ghana  5
 Guinea 96
 Kenya 34
 Mali 92
 Mauritania 71
 Niger 5
 Nigeria 19
 Senegal 28
 Sudan 90
 Tanzania 15
 Yemen 23

The practice has also been documented in Iran,  Jordan, Oman, Kurdish commnities in Iraq and in certain populations in India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Source(s): Unicef - Coordinated Strategy to Abandon Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in One Generation

The Horrors of Female Genital Mutilation                

The following story is a graphic recollection of one girl's journey through female genital mutilation and the emegence of a woman determined to fight.

 Where it's practiced, it is called "female circumcision," but to many it is more accurate to call it female genital mutilation (FGM) or female genital cutting (FGC). It refers to the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. This tradition is commonly followed in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

F G M

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