Theater of Cruelty

Bestiality of our time

The reason behind female genital mutilation is found in countries where this is tradition. Maybe the solution is there too.


[13. July 2007] In recent weeks, the fight against genital mutilation has been high on the political agenda. The Daily Revue's heartbreaking report from the circumcision of eight-year-old Anisa has forced viewers and policy makers to take the issue seriously. NRK proved that the assault has happened at least 185 Norwegian girls in recent years, and no one can say that circumcision is not a problem in Norway, either. The debate has forced solutions, in the form of urgent measures aimed at the vulnerable groups in Norway. It is unconditionally positive that information campaigns, contact phones and outreach are now being accelerated. We also think it is time to introduce mandatory abdominal checks on all Norwegian girls of compulsory school age, as it is all mandatory for boys. In this way, both abuse and illness can be uncovered, and girls are safer on their own bodies.

At the same time, it is time to use the experiences from the work done in the countries where female genital mutilation is a tradition. Ny Tid has traveled to Somalia and looked for solutions. We found Edna Adan Ismail: pioneer, public educator and women activist. As a midwife, health director and manager of her own hospital, she is such a woman who paves the way for those who come after her. For 30 years she has fought against circumcision, with medical services, conversations and information. Similarly, effective methods in the work against female genital mutilation have been developed by, among others, the Kembatta Center in Durame, Ethiopia. It includes the entire local community in the struggle through conversations to inform about girls and women's right to live as they are created. All local communities in which the project has worked have decided to stop female genital mutilation. Experiences from there can now be brought home to Norway.

Women must be made aware of their rights, while at the same time working purposefully with men and their attitudes. Girls and women who have been genital mutilation need medical help. Further focus must be directed to religious leaders, in order to make visible that the bestial custom is about tradition and not religion. Resources and organizations that have worked against genital mutilation should be consulted in the preparation of the measures in Norway.

Genital mutilation is a tradition in some minority countries. It is time to use modern tools from there, to let bestiality become history. ?

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