During the last decades, Western NGOs, activists and politicians have established a common strategy they proclaim to be suited to protect girls from the violence of Female Genital Mutilation:
It is destined to badly fail because it is based on the very wrong assumption that those who perpetrate Female Genital Mutilation do this because of a lack of knowledge, education and awareness.
The premise is that they are in a state of uninformed innocence. This approach lets the perpetrators off the hook and disguises the true nature of FGM as a form of systematic violence which intends to keep the subordination of girls and women in the concerned – predominantly Muslim – societies alive.
We can prove with empirical facts and data that those who are in favor of FGM are far away from being unknowing:
The educated elites at a high level of wealth mutilate their children at the same or even higher extent than the uneducated and poor classes of population.
In Sudan, after 70 years of awareness-raising campaigns, the prevalence of FGM did not decline a single percent and remains as high as 89%. The mutilation-rate in highly educated families is 3% higher than in uneducated ones. In the wealthiest class of population, the prevalence of FGM is even 20% higher than in the poorest class.
In Ethiopia, in the cities including Addis Abeba, there’s a 20% higher prevalence of FGM than in rural areas. Almost 80% of victims are to be found in highly-educated families (secondary and higher). This number is only 2% lower than among uneducated, illiterate ones.
In Egypt, there is no significant difference to be found: Almost every girl in highly educated families (92%) is subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. And 75% of mutilations are executed by educated medical professionals (first of all nurses) who propagate the continuation of this practice for their own monetary benefits.
The conclusion from all of this is that thre is an urgent need to tackle Female Genital Mutilation as a crime– an act of disrespect, disdain and violence. We have to acknowledge that the perpetrators are knowingly carrying out this atrocity for their own ideological and personal reasons; it is not because they lack education or awareness.
There should be no more “culture-discount” for the mutilators. The world public should criminalize without any ifs and buts those who mutilate their children as well as all governments who do not put appropriate legal measures in place to prosecute those families. Not to forget those religious (mostly Muslim, Shafi’i) leaders who continue to propagate FGM as “Islamic duty.”
The Western world should stop putting the mutilators under tutelage by suggesting that they don’t have a clue about the suffering they cause by mutilating their children. This attitude in fact reflects a mixture of racism and double standard:
On the one hand, Western (left) politicians/agencies/NGOs are presenting the FGM-perpetrators as backward idiots, absolved from any responsibility for their sadistic bestialities.
On the other hand, they adopt the justifications of FGM to excuse this malicious crime and the mutilators (to whom they impute “best intentions): They therefore turn their racist perception of “backwardness” into complicity that finally helps to uphold this “backwardness” and hinders sustainable development.
This Western policy perpetuates the violence of FGM and leads to a fatal conspiracy against the victims, to whom protection, fundamental rights and justice are denied.
Foto (c) Flickr/IRIN News