We discuss female genital mutilation a lot here at NYMM, but it can often be forgotten just how prevalent this deadly and inhumane practice is, even in 2019—especially when we only focus on one story at a time. But these four countries all have a prevalence rate of over 50%. That means a majority of all women in these countries are experiencing FGM in some form.
The following information is taken from the.UNICEF 2018 Database of harmful practices and intimate partner violence
Mali – On average, 75% of girls ages 0-14 have been reported (usually by their mothers) as having been subjected to female genital mutilation.
“Aissa’s [12 years old] younger sister at 7 years old, two of her cousins and one of her young aunts suffered the same mutilation on that day. ‘When I realized I would be excised, I was frightened and upset. I wanted to run away but my aunt told me that if I left, they would kill me.’” –Cindy Cao
Mauritania – On average, 51% of girls ages 0-14 have been reported (usually by their mothers) as having been subjected to female genital mutilation. Of those who are in the poorest wealth quintile, 80% have experienced the procedure.
“Fatima was just a week old when she lost her life to a serious infection following her excision…Cases like this are not uncommon in Mauritania, where some 70 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years undergo this harmful practice. FGM/C is mainly carried out on girls aged 0 to 5.” -Miriam Azar
Gambia – On average, 56% of girls ages 0-14 have been reported (usually by their mothers) as having been subjected to female genital mutilation. Of those in the fourth highest wealth quintile, 66% of girls still experienced FGM procedures.
Following the governmental change in 2018, Gambia’s laws against FGM were thought to be in jeapordy. From a 2018 Reuters’ article: “Female circumcision is our religion and tradition,” says the tall, frail mother of five from her one-bedroom home. “If Gambia is a democracy now, why should anyone stop us from practicing our religion and tradition?”
Guinea – Prevalence of FGM is 96.9% for women ages 15-49, and support is rising.
The prevalence of FGM among women aged 15-49 in the majority of administrative regions in Guinea is over 99%, the highest being Labé, in which it is 100%. – 28 Too Many