The men fighting for women’s rights are winning ground when it comes to the battle against female genital mutilation (FGM). While the United States lost its first legal battle over the landmark Detroit FGM trial, men (along with many women activists and FGM survivors) have been on the front lines.
Key among the men fighting for women’s rights is Sonyanga Ole Ng’ais, a Maasai warrior and captain of the Maasai Cricket Warriors. Sonyanga’s message on women’s rights is riveting and can be experienced through the incredible moving documentary Warriors, along with his team’s many campaigns for women’s rights both at home and abroad.
Hearing about the failed landmark U.S. FGM trial, which was slated to take place summer of 2019, Sonyanga came forward with a powerful message he shared in conversation with Clarion Project:
Female genital mutilation is an ancient practice involving cutting off the clitoris of girls against their will. Scientifically, this practice is not proven as helpful to the human anatomy, neither does it add any extra intelligence to the victims. In fact clitoridectomy has many life threatening drawbacks.
If the U.S. government fails to introduce tangible and quick measures toward protecting the girls from undergoing the cut then it will be a big threat to the sovereign power of its citizens. It means thousands of young and innocent girls in the U.S. will be deprived of their right to equal protection under the Constitution: “Nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Judge’s Friedman take in Michigan by dismissing the FGM case was a misguided one and this will propagate the frequency at which FGM cases will happen in the U.S., hence putting the young girls at risk.
Female genital mutilation is a worldwide act that individuals, governments and non-governmental organizations around the world are advocating against. The United Nations too has a lot of bodies that fight against such regressive malpractice. According to the U.N., the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (under Goal 5 on Gender Equality) call for an end to FGM by 2030, so I personally find it very wrong for the U.S. states to not strike against FGM while the rest of the world is working hard to end it.
It is shocking to find out that currently 23 U.S. states have not banned FGM, which is telling communities at risk that FGM is legal.
Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, according to the United Nations. While in the United States, it is estimated that over 500,000 women and girls are at risk of or were subjected to female genital mutilation in 2012 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I hope the U.S. government sees what banning FGM means to the voiceless and innocent girls out there and will reconsider its horrible decision.
Female genital mutilation causes health issues including infertility, difficulties while giving birth hence risking newborn deaths, severe bleeding and infections. If the right people could come together as a community, there is a serious chance that we can bring about the ban on female genital mutilation in U.S. Through petitioning and civic education, I think it will become clear to the relevant authorities in the U.S. that they need to consider a total ban on FGM in all the states. This could be a life changer for many. The ban of FGM in our countries will not only have a positive impact on young girls but it will also help protect the violation of the rights of those at risk.