A man in Egypt forced his wife to undergo FGM because he wanted to travel overseas for work. He conditioned that his wife, the mother of his children, would undergo FGM so their married life would continue. If she refused, he said he would divorce her. FGM for Wife: read more…
The woman told her story to the family court in Im Baba, a northern neighborhood in Giza:
“Ever since we got married, he planned to travel and I didn’t object…I was also afraid to stand up to him because he has a short fuse and is prone to handing out beatings. He also threatened that he’d take away my children. When I went to my family, they blamed me for not obeying him and rebelling against my husband.”
She said her husband beat her severely to force her to undergo a radical form of FGM [removing almost all the clitoris] because he was afraid she wouldn’t be able to bear his long absences.
“After I underwent the circumcision, I was lying on the bed sick and suffering and I looked from my mother-in-law who blamed me for inappropriate behavior. I went a deep depression and was crying all the time.
“I asked my husband to take me with him when he traveled, so I wouldn’t have to face his mother. Yet, he continued to be violent, hitting me and blamed me because he can’t have marital relations with me and began threatening that he would marry someone else as I couldn’t satisfy him.
“His behavior towards me made me run away after he threw me out of his house. I asked for a divorce with all my rights but he refused and left me hanging. He began telling lies about me to destroy my reputation among my friends and community.”
Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness head Reda Eldanbouki told Clarion “What this husband did is a crime according to Article 242 of the Egyptian penal code that comes with a mandatory prison sentence of seven years because it’s a constant physical disability and limits/damages the benefits of the genital organs of a woman.”
FGM is not just an offence in Egypt but internationally. It is in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international agreements, said Eldanbouki.
“The sources of this practice are false cultural beliefs that the genitals of the female are evil parts that should be cut off. Some believe this will protect them from falling into sin. The aim of circumcision in Egypt is to reduce sexual desire
FGM is a barbaric practice, based on false cultural beliefs. It is also used as a societal way of controlling women and their sexuality. It should not be condoned in the West or excused in the media as a religious or cultural practice.
Watch a clip about FGM from Clarion’s film Honor Diaries. As our film maintains “Culture is no excuse for abuse.”