How traditionalists’ ego is fueling FGM

In the course of the Last Mile Reach campaign on stopping Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), we found that proponents of the act will do their best to sustain the culture, despite the negative effects they’ve learned. A man was asking if FGM affects the menstrual cycle and sperm retainment, during our outreach at Oranyan market, Oyo State, Nigeria, but his voice was quickly drowned in shouts to dissuade him from asking.

A separate woman would insist that uncut girls will constantly and continually have virginal itches that might even result in bleeding, making Female Genital Mutilation an effective solution.

The belief was not very different at Molete market, another stop-by in Ibadan. The common perception was that ending FGM will make young girls more aware of their sexuality than needful. To many of the women, sex is for procreation, and a seal should be placed on whatever brings pleasure.

However, Kafilat Oladoja, one of our audience at Molete, had a different opinion. Her experience was that mutilated girls get overboard in their sexuality, resulting in many teenagers getting pregnant. A similar case was a woman with an unfaithful husband. The man was allegedly acting in protest to lack of sexual excitement because his wife was mutilated.

The testimonies helped us correct these misconceptions about FGM, and we were able to reach more than 800 people at the two markets.

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