• February 7, 2024

FGM: three girls died

FGM: three girls died
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By: Sulaiman Aruna Sesay

Female Genital mutilation (FGM) in Sierra Leone is a harmful traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. This practice is often carried out on young girls and can have serious physical and psychological consequences.

The cruelty of FGM in Sierra Leone lies in the fact that it is often performed without the consent of the girls and can lead to severe pain, bleeding, infections, and long-term health complications.

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The procedure is usually carried out in unhygienic conditions by traditional practitioners using crude instruments, which increases the risk of complications and infections.

According to a report published in Premier News on Tuesday 6 February 2024, 3 girls lost their lives as a result of the rituals performed. The report further stated that, the children’s parents and those who performed the process are in police custody while instigations are ongoing in relation to the death of those girls. The report revealed, Aminata Sesay aged 12, Salamatu Jalloh 13, and Kadiatu Bangura 17, died during the initiation ceremonies that took place in the North West Province last month according to local reports.

FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and it interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies. Although all forms of FGM are associated with increased risk of health complications, the risk is greater with more severe forms of FGM. The immediate complications of FGM can include: severe pain, excessive bleeding (haemorrhage) genital tissue swelling fever infections e.g. tetanus urinary problems wound healing problems injury to surrounding genital tissue shock and death. FGM can have long-lasting psychological effects on the girls, causing trauma, anxiety, and depression. It also perpetuates harmful gender norms and reinforces the subjugation of women and girls in society.

The government of Sierra Leone has long taken a stand against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and has made efforts to combat this harmful practice. In 2019, the government declared a national emergency on sexual violence, which included a commitment to enforce laws against FGM. Additionally, the government has implemented legislation and policies aimed at ending FGM, and there have been campaigns to raise awareness about the negative effects of the practice. While progress has been made, FGM still persists in some communities, and further efforts are needed to fully eradicate it.

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