In Kamunera location of Mt. Elgon District in Kenya, more than 100 girls were rescued by the Maendeleo ya Wanawake organization before facing genital mutiliation, a practice still widespread in spite of government attempts to end the practice. Female genital mutiliation (FGM), which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, is a ritual carried out by traditional circumcisers on approximately one-fourth of girls in the country. Girls as young as nine were rescued, some of whom had been threated with death if they tried to escape, many severely traumatized by pre-ritual preparations.
Communities often look down upon and discriminate against girls who are not circumcised, even to the point of parents disowning their daughters who refuse. Some of these young girls are still in hiding. Children are told they will never marry because no men will want them if they do not undergo the mutiliation.Girls rarely are schooled beyond Standard Eight, as they are often married off young and told their place is to take care of men, not to pursue education. Due to this pressure many young girls agree to go through with the rites of passage expected of them.
Efforts by the government and NGOs continue in an attempt to bring to an end this brutal practice.
“Kenyan Parents disown their children for fleeing female circumcision,” Erick Ngobilo, Daily Nation, February 6 2011. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Parents%20disown%20girls%20for%20evading%20the%20cut/-/1056/1102708/-/kdcr7jz/-/index.html
Student Researcher: Nzinga Dotson-Newman, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Matthew Paolucci, Sonoma State University
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