Kenya has made strides in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) after being named among the most vigorous countries in eradicating the practice. The milestone comes after the country passed f a law that prohibits the practice in 2011 according to the study on the descriptive statistics from four waves of demographic and health surveys 2017.
According to UNICEF, 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM across 31 countries. In 2012 the UN resolved to eradicate FGM by 2030 after determining that it violates human rights. The areas in North Eastern region are the most affected, with certain communities holding FGM so sacredly.
The country has however achieved a lot of progress in the last three decades in the quest to stamp out FGM. According to a study carried out by 288 Too Many in 2014, in 1998 to 2003, FGM cases reduced from 37.6 per cent to 32.2 per cent and the cases further reduced to 27.1 per cent in 2008 to 2009. In 2011, the FGM Act was approved and put in the constitution under FGM Act 2011. According to this act, a person who commits an offence under this act is liable on conviction to imprisonment to a term of not less than three years or a fine of not less than two hundred shillings or both.
In an article by Samuel Kimani, Caroline Kabiru, Jacinta Mutoshi and Jaldasa Guyo in 2020, the practice of FGM among the kuria is almost universal with a prevalence of 96 per cent as of 2014. It is rather unfortunate that 3,000 girls from the Kuria community have undergone FGM in recent weeks, despite crackdown. The girls were paraded in the main town centres while being showered with gifts. This act of parading victims of FGM is a sign of open defiance to the relevant authorities according to an article in the guardian on October 21, 2020.
This showering of gifts is made with an aim to entice more young girls to get the cut. It is time we move from this torture we are exposing our girls to. These girls that have undergone FGM are made to believe it is the right thing, and that it makes them ‘grown women’, which is preposterous and a violation to their womanhood. These girls go back to school, while still bleeding and adorned in lesos. It is unbelievable that principals would still admit these girls in this condition.
This is normalizing the cut crime and the effects are detrimental to the mental health of other young girls yet to undergo this act FGM and not only endangers the lives of these girls but also slims their chances of surviving childbirth.
As a nation and a continent, we should come to a point where we protect our girls and put these culprits behind bars and bring them to justice. We applaud the UN for backing Kenya up in the fight against this menace.
As a fellow citizen, what are your thoughts on the practice of FGM in this day and age? Why are this acts still condoned? Let’s have this conversation.