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Cultural Awareness

Cultural traditions, we know them, experience them and pass them down generation to generation. Common traditions in our society are celebrating certain holidays like Christmas and New Years. People in other countries have traditions that they follow as well for thousands of years. FGM known as female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting, it is practiced in 30 countries in western, eastern and north-eastern Africa, Middle East and Asia. UNICEF reported that Ethiopia and Somalia have the highest total percentages of FGM. The practice is illegal but is still tradition so it is very prevalent in villages till this day. It is looked at as a right of passage for young girls. Believing they are now able to bare children and marry; they are women now. Girls as young as eight years old are forced to endure FGM; often held down, suffering through excruciating pain and scarring. It is believed until a girl goes through FGM she remains a child unfit to marry. Most girls of course dread the pain but look forward to becoming a woman. Tradition says that the process preserves the girls virtue reducing desire for sex, making it less likely for her to engage in premarital sex or adultery. There is a real fear of social dishonor if they don’t go through with it, it is told to the girls a man will never want to marry them. Even though FGM is looked at as rite of passage it has severe consequences; constant pain, bleeding, difficulty during sex, infections, depression and self harm. Organizations and activists such are working together vigorously to bring awareness and to prevent girls from FGM. Speaking out to shine a light on the pain it causes mentally and physically. Nice Nailantei Leng’ete a Kenyan activist against FGM has made it her life’s work to help young African women escape it. She escaped by running away and now has helped over 15,000 girls escape as well. Elders in her village renounced the practice in 2014 but it is still a very long road to completely renounce the practice everywhere. Working together so another world is possible, without the mental and physical scarring of FGM is needed. “If culture in all its glory humiliates us and makes us less of human beings then it is not befitting.” -Nice Nailantei Leng’ete



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