I have been following the Female Genital Mutilation crime for quite some time now, trying to do my best to promote, support, and talk about the horrific practise that unfortunately is still very common among young girls.
This practice is very old, and it causes the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia, largely perpetuated by harmful cultural norms with lasting adverse impacts -check out the insightful interview on FMG here. Recently, Sudan has banned this horrific practise that constitutes a form of gender-based violence and human rights violations, including the right to life, physical integrity, to be free from torture and sexual health. The inadmissible effects they have on the health of girls and women and development processes compromise girls' ability to self-determine.
However, recent news within this article embraces some promising changes that are yet to be fully internalised by many countries.
Specifically, a man who allegedly forced her two daughters to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Serengeti District, Mara Region, was recently arrested by the Police Force in Mugumu, Tanzania.
The suspect has been identified as Ndera Matiko Chacha from Ngarawani Village in the district. Serengeti is one of Mara Region districts where FGM is still very frequent.
However, identified and caught by the police, the suspect has been hiding since 2008 after allegedly practising a criminal offence, but was only taken to the district court in Mugumu last week after his arrest.
"We finally caught him and we had taken him to court early last week (Tuesday)," a woman police officer working at the gender and children's unit in the district told the media.
Mara Regional Police Commander (RPC) Daniel Shilla has been insisting that anyone who will be found engaging in FGM in the region will face legal action -as they rightfully should always do. At the same time, Mara Regional Commissioner (RC) Adam Malima has also been working to ensure that FGM violence against women becomes history in the region.
Lately, a campaign against FGM is getting support from top regional and district government leaders. We as Urban Kapital are trying to spread awareness about this horrific practise, by talking and denouncing it as much as possible.
Further reports from Serengeti say the two girls who were forced to undergo FGM by their father were earlier saved by Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania, a non-governmental organisation in Serengeti and Butiama districts.
The NGO has so far rescued hundreds of schools and out of schoolgirls from undergoing FGM in the region, thanks to partners supporting the initiative.
However, the battle is not over yet, as much more still needs to be done for every girl to feel safe and comfortable within their own body in the society they live. Indeed, apart from the horrendous immediate physical consequences that include bleeding, infections, urinary retention and, in some cases, death following severe postoperative bleeding, in the long term, sexual intercourse is difficult or very painful, and women who undergo ‘cutting’ are forced to face problems and complications during childbirth, which can cause the death of the unborn or new-born baby, and/or the mother. Additionally, on a psychological level, the girl or woman in question is, following the cut, forced to abandon any academic path previously undertaken, to devote herself to the domestic outbreak.
FGMs are not only an atrocious cut of the female external genitalia but are also a cut of possibilities and the future.