Reprod Health. 2017 Dec 1;14(1):162. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0434-y.
I knew how it feels but couldn’t save my daughter; testimony of an Ethiopian mother on female genital mutilation/cutting.
Adinew YM, Mekete BT
BACKGROUND: World Health Organization defines female genital mutilation/cutting as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is common in Ethiopia, especially among Somali (99%) ethnic groups. Even though FGM/C is labeled illegal practice according to the revised 2005 Penal Code of the country, the practice is still responsible for misery of many girls in Ethiopia. METHODS: This personal testimony is presented using woman’s own words. Data were collected through in-depth interview with a woman at Gursum health center, Somali regional state, eastern Ethiopia on June 19/2016. The interview was conducted in a private environment and original names were changed to overcome ethical concerns. Informed written consent was obtained from the participant prior to data collection. The interview was audio-taped using a digital voice recorder, later transcribed and translated verbatim from the local language, Amharic to English. RESULTS: The study participant described a range of experiences she had during her own and her daughter’s circumcision. Three themes emerged from the woman’s description: womanhood, social pressure and stigmatization of uncircumcised women and uncertain future. CONCLUSION: Even though the national prevalence may show a decline, FGM/C is still practiced underground. Thus, anti-FGM/C interventions shall take in to account elders influence and incorporate a human rights approach rather than relying merely on the dire health consequences. Further exploration of the determinants of FGM/C on a wider scale is recommended.