Female genital cutting, most commonly referred to as FGC, is a very controversial topic. Whatever the stance on the subject, the fact remains that this practice is responsible for the death and disfigurement of many African girls.
On Cycle 10 of America’s Next Top Model, Fatima Siad revealed that she was a victim of FGC. As daughter of an Ethiopian father and Somalian mother, Siad attested to the physical and emotional pain she suffered as a result of FGC. She has been a steadfast advocate for ensuring that no girl ever has to goes through what she went through.
According the World Health Organization, FGC is defined as “all practices that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."
FGC is often times associated with Islamic traditions, however, according to women’s activist and researcher Dr. Jacqueline Castledine, this practice is more of a “law by custom.” It is not a mandated Islamic religious practice but rather, a cultural tradition.
While this tradition is custom in a number of Islamic African communities, African government officials have passed laws prohibiting the practice of FGC. In January, 34 Mauritanian national and religious leaders passed a law banning FGC.
In Gambia, national and religious leaders and activists, particularly women, are taking a stand against FGC by creating awareness and educating both men and women about FGC and the harsh consequences of the practice, along with problem-solving tactics.
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