Saving Female Children in Sudan from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through Microcredit
What is FGM and what sustains it till date, especially in the Sudan?
Female Genital Mutilation is, in general, a harmful practice against girls and women and the reasons given for the continued practice of this monstrous act is as diverse as there are traditions, customs, beliefs and ideology. Irrespective of these differences, one thing very common about the practice of FGM is its deep rootedness in inequality. It is a factor of power relations, and building on ideas about purity, aesthetics and modesty, it spreads nets of control over the life and sexuality of women. Then, the prevailing assumption about FGM in Sudan according to the EMOTION member is the fear that unmutilated women cannot control themselves sexually and therefore can become nothing else than prostitutes. Fear turns out to be one of the dominating instruments of control FGM wields, with the consequence that, very unfortunately, the victims of FGM – women – mutate to collaborators to the criminal act. Then, most often than not, it is usually the women themselves who initiate, plan and carry out the exercise. Why? According to the EMOTION member, it is because they fear:
- Their daughters may not be married if not “circumcised”.
- The nightmare of their daughters being sent away on the eve of wedding simply for not being “circumcised”.
- And loathe the imagination of their daughters ending up in the streets as prostitutes if not “circumcised”.
- The isolation and social exclusion their daughters might suffer if they should remain unmutilated.
The tentacles of the threats of the knife of female genital mutilation extend far broader than one person can manage to combat. Traditions are hard to come by and when coupled with religion and power interests, they assume the mantle of habit irrespective of how monstrous such traditions are in their social and psychological effects. Another feature sustaining the practice of FGM in North Sudan according to the EMOTION member is the factor of secrecy. Mutilation of girls in North Sudan is in day-to-day life of the people a secrete matter. FGM is there a practice almost completely shrouded in secrecy. No one talks about it openly. It is a talked about only behind closed doors, among the women, especially among the grandmothers. It is a domain of the women and as a result, an embarrassing matter should a man be heard talking about it with other women, especially when with strangers. In spite of all these, the EMOTION member - set out with her organization to confront the monster directly there where its ugly face is seen eye-to-eye: in the life of girls and women in North Sudan.