This week we asked the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to weigh in on Nigeria’s new law against female genital mutilation/cutting. Here’s what they said!
I do believe that law is the cornerstone of all societies today. No matter how good one’s intentions are, it won’t mean anything unless a citizen can find solace in the law if their rights have been infringed. Therefore, I think that it is a leap forward for Nigeria to pass an Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) law.
However, through experiences with perception and reality, one will soon discover that passing a law is only one step in the process of changing the culture and mindset of a society. One may find that both sexes may still remain rigid for a number of reasons and, although the law may be present for a females protection, she may fear coming forward to press charges lest she be ousted from her community which may result in a loss of family ties and even livelihood.
Conversely, I would not encourage an autocratic approach to persons who still practice FGM as many genuinely believe in the practice and would likely change if they were to receive a more informed perspective. Therefore, the change in the law must be accompanied by a nationwide campaign and a strategic plan to eradicate the practice of FGM in a specific period of time (for instance in ten years).
Our Advocacy groups such as Advocates for Youth and the Girl Engagement Advisory Board should continue to externalize these issues in our communities so that we can galvanize support and turn our energies to assist in ending such a practice (like removing the stigma of Apartheid or freeing Nelson Mandela from prison).
Therefore, Nigeria’s efforts should not be dealt with solely in isolation but should also take on a global personality so that the world in turn, may eradicate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. – Christal, 19, Jamaica
Nigeria has done it! After years of Female Genital Mutilation, Nigerian girls can finally breathe a sigh of relief as this brutal practice has been forbidden by law . Nigeria has accounted for a quarter of the FGM victims of the world. Furthermore, the health issues attached to this dangerous practice have led several girls to live a handicapped life. However, we also need to realize that certain cultural barriers do exist which can exploit this law. Several people believe this practice to be a part of their ancestors tradition and won’t let it go easy. Proper implementation coupled with people’s opinions is the key to eradicate FGM. It is necessary that health inspectors and doctors are sent in these villages to create awareness of this practice. Although, we know this is a barbaric act but, for millions of people, it’s just part of culture. Thus, instead of using force to implement this law, education and campaigning should be used. One day, hopefully, FGM will be eradicated from the entire world! – Hamna, 17, Pakistan
Firstly, female genital mutilation is thought to be a very harmful and unpleasant procedure which is one of the main reasons for banning this. Many young girls are being squeezed into doing this and they are not ready for this physically, not even mentally. The process is bound with heavy bleeding, urinary tract infections and cysts that are very painful and if they get worse they may be a reason for infertility. So the main idea of FGM is meaningless. People think that by doing this to their daughters they will remain virgins until the marriage, which is not a bad thing, but in the name of that I don’t believe it is worth it to sacrifice the ability of being a mother and giving birth just to avoid sexual intercourse and stay virtuous. That’s why I support the new Nigerian law banning the female genital cutting. Preslava, 19, Bulgaria