|A campaign poster against FGM|
So there I was, giving training at one of those sexuality education sessions. It was an introductory session, I was trying to be careful as possible as these young people are going to publicly discuss sexuality-related issues for the first time in their lives (in a health context of course)!
I came up with an information sharing game, to make it easier for them to participate and learn. I prepared a set of statements in the form of scientific facts. Then, I split each statement into two parts and distributed all the parts to the trainees, then asked them to find the other half of the statement they have.
One of the statements said: “Female genital cutting (FGM) could lead to bleeding, infertility, and loss of sexual appetite (berood ginsi).” After each of them found his/her matching half of the statement, I asked each of them to read the statement out loud. One of the girls said it out loud, but after she did, she shook her head and said “I’m not convinced, how can this happen?”
I went on explaining how the conditions and the delicacy of this surgery could lead to such fate. I also explained the function of the clitoris and how its cutting leads to loss of sexual desire.
“But isn’t this [loss of sexual desire] better to happen for women?” exclaimed the girl. I was surprised to be honest, even though I should have expected it, I guess it surprises me every time, especially when this kind of comment comes from a girl/woman! I think her only excuse is that she most probably haven’t started a sexual life yet, and she would know it better first hand and she wouldn’t have her children undergo the same awful procedure!
|FGM prevalence in Africa|
However, one shouldn’t be exactly surprised with this kind of FGM apologia in Egypt. The practice is indeed widely prevalent with shocking numbers. Egypt Demographic and Health Survey in 2008 demonstrates that the prevalence among women aged 15 to 49 is 91%. Although the practice seems to be declining among the younger generation, the phenomenon is widespread. With such rates, then definitely majority of the community supports it and have good reasons behind it.
I am going to delve into it more in the upcoming post. Wait for Part II of this post!