Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) outlawed
One wonders how beneficial a practice like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was holding. This has been allowed to continue for many years despite an isolated outcry that spoke for thousands of young girls. It is now joy of a woman as women members of parliament hailed the passage of a bill that outlaws Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Marakwet East Member of Parliament Linah Jebii Kilimo must have been the happiest of them all. She is also the chairperson of Kenyan Women Parliamentary Association. She excitedly said, “Today is a great day. Parliament has protected the girl child from the monster that is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This will mark a rise in retention and completion rates in schools.”
They said that women have gotten their independence away from the cruel hands of society. Many agreed that the government has taken a bold step and will not tolerate any more violations.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) the ritual that stomped many
I first knew of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the 90’s when Jebii kilimo started a vigorous campaign of protecting a girl child from undergoing this primitive ritual. Initially Jebii was almost the lone voice in this crusade probably due to her proper understanding of what it means to pass through this stage as a girl.
Later on she was joined by MP Sophie Abdi Noor who has consistently been championing the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This is actually a historic moment for the country and to the women who had to undergo this process involuntary.
The Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey of 2008 and 2009 indicated the one out of every three women between the ages of 15 and 49 years had undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Most communities in the eastern and north rift embraced the female cut including some parts of Nyanza.
Lack of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) meant stigma and discrimination.
Many a courageous girl child and woman who’d defied the odd against the society by running away from the cut ended up being despised, stigmatized and discriminated against. They were not considered women enough and sometimes seen us unclean.
“People turned their faces away from me, as if I smelled, as I passed by. Even as a woman, because I had not undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), they treated me as a child,” says Hon. Kilimo. Read more gender related topics
A young girl child aged 15 years would be subjected to a cut and eventually married off. Those that refused to have a cut were in most cases were harassed and derogatory remarks used against them repeatedly.
What the new law says on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Bill makes it illegal to practice FGM, procure the services of someone who practices ritual, or send a person out of the country to be genitally mutilated.
It also makes it clear that any forms of derogatory remarks against a woman because she has not been cut becomes illegal. The offenders are likely to serve a minimum of three years in prison sentence or a fine of at least Sh200,000 or both.
Any form of verbal abuse is likely to attract a penalty of imprisonment for not less than six months, or a fine of not less than Sh50,000 or both. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a therefore a punishable offense.