How Possible is it to Eliminate FGM?
Uncovering Practice-Sustaining Barriers in South West Nigeria
Keywords:female genital mutilation, FGM, Nigeria, traditional practice, culture, women, girls, community, social norms
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional cultural practice that is predominantly practiced in Africa. Nigeria accounts for 10% of the 200 million reported cases of FGM around the world. Studies have shown that FGM has no health benefits and poses harmful short- and long-term health complications (WHO 2020). The communities that continue the practice believe that they are protecting the purity and virtues of their girls and women from sexual promiscuous behavior leading to stigma and family shame. Based on the research and data that is currently available, the number of communities that still practice FGM in Nigeria is decreasing at a slow rate. The content of this paper will be useful for addressing gaps that are missing or overlooked by providing recommendations to reduce the amount of FGM practice. This paper will explore the myths about FGM, the reasoning behind why it is practiced, the barriers that sustain these myths and/or ways of reasoning, and recommendations for addressing these social barriers/ myths to spread more awareness about the harmful effects of the practice.
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