Dark Secret: Thinking about the Unthinkable

Indeed, girls have very little choice. Given their age and their lack of education and resources, they are dependent on their parents, and later on their husband, for the basic necessities of life. Those who resist may be cut/stitched by force. If they remain uncircumcised and their families are therefore unable to arrange a marriage, they may be cast out without any means of subsistence. Because of their lack of choice and the powerful influence of tradition, many girls accept female genital mutilation (FGM) as a necessary, and even natural, part of life, and adopt the rationales given for its existence.

To get married and have children, which on the surface fulfills gender expectations and the reproductive potential of females, is, in reality, a survival strategy in a society plagued with poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

The socioeconomic dependency of women on men affects response to female genital mutilation. Substantial change is likely to occur only with improvements in the status of women in society. If women are to be considered as equal and responsible members of society, no aspect of their physical, psychological or sexual integrity can be compromised.

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