Female Genital Mutilation, also known as FGM,is a common practice amongst Somalian and Sudanese women of cutting female genital parts. This forced procedure is actually practiced all over the world, especially Africa, mainly Sudan. According to LandInfo, studies show that 86 percent of the female population had been subjected to genital mutilation prior to the age of ten. (LandInfo) FGM leads to bleeding and pain during sexual intercourse, infertility, and even death. Female Genital Mutilation originated as far back as 5th Century B.C. They believed that it promoted good hygiene and that it would make sense to be circumcised Sudanese men liked for their women to be circumcised.
In an article describing the trauma of FGM, a young girl explained her taunting experience going through the procedure. She says, “The stranger told me to take off my underwear, and I told he no. She said to me, “You have to” and before I knew what was happening she cut me, and I started screaming.” These cultural practices were not optional and it is actually respected custom across the east African country.
In 2008, the National Organization for Women passed resolution to end FGM. Another organization that had a big effect on stopping FGM was the Babikar Scientific Studies Association on Women Studies. Babikar was the first non-governmental organization that made a significant impact on stopping FGM from happening. Ellen Gruenbaum, an anthropologist from Cortland, New York, takes an insider and outsider approach to the situation. With the many years she spent in Sudan, Ellen concentrated on the attitudes and complexes of the individuals who practice FGM and those that wanted to end it.
She mentioned that, “ the criticisms of outsiders are frequently simplicstic and fail to appreciate the diversity of cultural contexts, the complex meanings and the conflicting responses to change”. She believed that people did not understand that is is difficult for some families to decide whether to follow the normal customs or risk changing these traditions.
“Female genital mutilation in Sudan and Somalia.” Landinfo 10 (2007). Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.landinfo.no/asset/764/1/764_1.pdf.