Female Genital Mutilation: Soher Ebrahim's Story...

  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequence of Female Genital Mutilation.

    The World Health Organisation defines Female Genital Mutilation as including procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

    This may ultimately lead to excessive bleeding, difficulty in urination, infections and difficulty in child birth among other things.

    "This procedure was banned by the Egyptian parliament in June 2008, with those found guilty liable for fines and prison sentences of up to two years."

    Egypt Independent reported that current evidence suggests that younger generations are challenging the practice.

    "2008 Demographic and Health Survey of Egypt recorded that 91% of women aged 15-49 years underwent FGM, but only about 74% of girls ages 15-17, which is envisaged to reduce to 45% over the next 10 years.

    The 1995 survey had recorded 96% of women aged 15-30 years having experienced FGM"

    Its eradication plan seems to be slowly progressing.

    Nevertheless, Soher Ebrahim, a 13 year old Egyptian girl died on Thursday evening in a village in Daqahliya governorate after being circumcised.

    Her father, Mohammad disclosed that her sister had been circumcised by the same doctor two years ago and three other girls on the same day as Soher.

    Although, her family was told that she died of anaesthesia overdose, that has not been confirmed.

    The police ordered an autopsy which envisaged the cause of death to have been a "sharp drop in her blood pressure resulting in shock trauma".

    Her family have filed an official complaint, blaming the doctor that performed the operation causing her death.

    The quest to reduce Female Genital Mutilation and possibly eradicate it not only lies with the Egyptian government, it has become a growing concern worldwide.

    Two organisations: Equality Now and Daughters of Eve have  intensified their efforts in the elimination of FGM in the United Kingdom and globally for over 30 years, recognising it as a serious form of violence rather than something which is cultural and ought to be abandoned .

    To successfully eliminate FGM, a co-operative action is required, the government and civil society should be involved.

    This will integrate community education, protection measures, justice outcomes and the provision of services to tackle health complications.

    Millions of women who have undergone FGM have also experienced other forms of violence. Efforts to eliminate it in ways that do not consider its foundational causes are not enough.

    Allowing offenders to take the lead and ignoring the fact that FGM is rooted in gender inequality means that the root of all other forms of violence against women are efficiently dealt with.

    The common aim of these organisations is to ensure not only an FGM free world but one in which all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls are eliminated.

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