Female circumcision? Not in Eritrea

The government bans female genital mutilation.

Topics: Broadsheet, Female Mutilation, Love and Sex,

Here’s some good news for everyone who’s concerned about the horrific practice of female genital mutilation (i.e., cutting and/or removing the clitoris and other vaginal tissue): The government of Eritrea has just outlawed the practice, according to IRIN Africa.

A government proclamation put out last week makes it a crime to perform female genital cutting (FGM), provide the tools for it or even fail to notify the government of intended plans to perform FGM. Penalties range from a fine of several hundred dollars to 10 years in prison. According to IRIN, the government banned the practice because “it was painful and put women at risk of life-threatening health problems” — in addition, you know, to the psychological trauma of having part of your genitals removed.

This is obviously a much-needed step in the right direction in a country where the FGM rate may be as high as 94 percent, according to the National Union of Eritrean Women. The same organization says that village councils are coming up with their own local laws to discourage the practice — another good sign, especially since women can’t do much to stop their own FGM: According to a 2002 government survey referenced by Reuters, 62 percent of circumcised Eritrean women had the procedure performed before their first birthday.



Unfortunately, there’s only so much that laws can do, particularly since that same government survey found that fewer than 1 percent of circumcisions in Eritrea were performed by trained medical professionals. But still, I’m happy to hear that Eritrea has joined the ranks of the (at least) 16 African countries that have banned female genital mutilation.

Luul Ghebreab, president of the National Union of Eritrean Women, gave this tempered, yet optimistic, perspective to Reuters:

“‘FGM is a deep-rooted culture and it needs a persistent, continuous effort [to halt it],’” she’s quoted as saying. “‘We do not believe [this ban] will automatically eradicate circumcision, but surely it will play a role.’”

Here’s hoping.

Catherine Price is a freelance journalist and author of "101 Places Not to See Before You Die". She also runs a legally themed clothing shop called Illegal Briefs.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Bulldog

    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Beagle

    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Poodle

    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Boxer

    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Rottweiler

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>