Kenya : Kenyan Men Reject FGM Women

Discussion in 'Kenya' started by karmashines, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. karmashines

    karmashines Banned MEMBER

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    Kenyan men reject 'mutilated' women
    By Abraham Odeke
    BBC, eastern Uganda

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3826149.stm
    BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenyan men reject 'mutilated' women
    news.bbc.co.uk


    A new generation of men from western Kenya, where female genital mutilation is widely practised, say they are abandoning their "mutilated" wives and girlfriends for sexual partners across the border in Ugandan.


    Ugandan sex-workers are doing thriving business with Kenyan men
    They say the practice of genital mutilation is outdated and those who practice the procedure should bury the knives that deform women.

    The Kenyan men defend their decision to love and marry women from Uganda, where the practice of female genital mutilation is uncommon.

    "It's a primitive and shameful thing which we have now vowed to fight as a new generation," said Joseph, from the Kalenjin ethnic group.

    "Our continued coming to the Ugandan side of the border to sleep with these Ugandan women should serve as a big warning to our parents and the clan leaders. We are not ready to marry our own girls whose sex organs have been tampered with by the primitive genital surgeons in the villages," he said.

    Aids test

    The commercial sex-workers say that some of them had accepted generous offers of house rent, bank accounts, television sets and medical care from the Kenyan men flirting with them.

    "My newly found fiance from Kenya is actually a properly married man back home," said Agnes, a sex-worker in Busia.

    Unless these clan leaders stop circumcising our girls, all the boys in our tribe will be forced to marry from other tribes that respect the rights of the women to have their bodies intact

    Kiprono
    "He is convincing me to abandon this commercial sex business so I can cohabit with him as his special junior wife with a house of my own in the [Kenyan] town of Eldoret, and I have no objection to this offer," she said.

    The risk of HIV/Aids does not seem to stop the Kenyan men frequenting Malaba and Busia.

    "We would rather contract the HIV/Aids from the women in Malaba and die comfortably from it than be confined to the boredom of cohabiting with Kenyan women with deficient genital composition," said Joseph.

    But Kiprono, who met his fiancee in a hotel in Malaba, said the couple had both accepted the idea of voluntary HIV/Aids counselling and testing. They had tested negative to the virus.

    Their wedding ceremony was boycotted by the majority of the elder Kenyan clan leaders.

    Kiprono said he was a living example of a new generation of youth who are openly protesting against female genital mutilation.

    "I am quite happy that several of my friends have also decided to annoy our clan leaders by opting to marry from the tribes which do not practice female genital mutilation, he said.

    "Unless these clan leaders stop circumcising our girls, all the boys in our tribe will be forced to marry from other tribes that respect the rights of the women to have their bodies intact."
     
  2. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    That's deep.

    Thanks for sharing Sister Karmashines!

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  3. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    can you say punk?

    if these "men" have an objection to the practice why don't they step to the practitioners and stop them directly?
     
  4. karmashines

    karmashines Banned MEMBER

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    Yeah, that would be more effective. But who knows, maybe they are doing this.
     
  5. fanyamambo

    fanyamambo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I haven't heard of many.

    Anyway when i first read this report a while ago my gut instinct was that this was just another convenient excuse for their infidelity. No sane person can talk that way about HIV/AIDS. I don't buy it.
     
  6. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I was waiting for you to show up sister Fanyamambo, before I commented on this. For those who don't know Fanyamambo is a sister who lives in Kenya. I also don't buy this story! We have to read with a discriminating eye. This being said though, I would like to ask Fanyamambo about her thoughts on female circumcision, and how do women in Kenya feel about it in general?
     
  7. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Ya'll smarter than the average bear. I'm glad to see that I am not the only one who recognized this as a pile of crap hiding behind a worthy cause.

    Can one compound bodily mutilation with mutilation of the mind--being rejected for something over which they have no control-- and call it setting them free? Can one achieve respect for a woman's body by disrespecting her person. The women are still victims. They don't need the boys to help them this way.

    The truest freedom is the freedom you win for yourself. Do not accept it from the dirty hands of those who call themselves giving it to you.
     
  8. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    speaking as a brother from north philly..........

    this practice is no good.
    it needs to be stopped, right now.

    the people who do it need to be re educated.
    yes, i am being judgemental.

    reports like this give me a low opinion of the people over there.
    they need to stop!
     
  9. fanyamambo

    fanyamambo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother Panafrica as you would imagine FGM is a persistent issue here. The most common form of FGM is clitoridectomy but there is I believe something like a 15% occurence of infibulation. It of course has been going on since the beginning of time as we know it but there have been very many efforts to stop it.

    I am completely against the practice mostly because it violates fundamental sexual and reproductive human rights. It has terrible physical implications. In fact just last week the organization I work for was raising funds for the hospital bill of a 14 year old girl from northern Kenya. The nomadic/pastoralist communites found in semi-arid and arid northern Kenya are infamous for their continued insistence on this practice which in their case includes sewing together the labia majora to keep girls and women "chaste". This girl underwent FGM at the age of 4 and was married off at 14 to a 40 something year old man. He of course expected sexual intercourse but this was impossible due to the condition of her private parts which were basically completely blocked up. He ordered a traditional doctor to cut her open. Still disatisfied he returned the girl to her father. A local woman leader heard of this case and went to the girl's home and found her in very serious condition, having almost bled to death and receiving no attention from her father or anyone else. She rushed her to the nearest district hospital (which is not near at all) where they were able to save her life and did some form of reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately she had a bad infection still and had to be brought to Nairobi Women's Hospital for more specialized care. She is still at the hospital right now. She may recover from her physical scars but emotionally and psychologically she is damaged for life. I have seen many such cases and I cannot even bring myself to tell the kind of physical and psychological trauma I have encountered.

    I would say most women are against it having been educated of the dangers of it and its impact on the human rights of women and girls. This is a result of aggressive campaigns that educate communities in order to put a stop to the practice. These campaigns have also seen the ratification of legislation that basically outlaws all forms of FGM among girls under 18. If a woman over 18 elects to undergo the rite then she is free to do so. Indeed I know one or two women who have chosen to do so. Don't ask me why! They say it is a part of their return journey to African traditional religion.

    The banning of FGM has predictably driven it undergound. A lot of communities still feel that it is a vital rite of passage and it must be done for a girl to be considered a women and marriage material. Because there is such importance attached to initiation, a number of the campaigns I mentioned earlier are promoting alternative initiation rites that do not include the cut. And that include the passing down of certain knowledge from older women to younger women that traditionally accompanied FGM rites. In other words girls are secluded during the inititation season, go through certain traditional rights but are NOT circumcised. This is growing in popularity and is the trend now. By the way, note that it is only SOME ethnic groups that traditionally practice FGM. It is difficult to attain accurate consistent statistics on FGM prevalence because it is something done in secret but our indications is that there has been a sharp drop in incidence.

    Quite a number of girls particularly from the Rift Valley area having been educated on the issue are running away from their homes to escape FGM. There are number of shelters that exist to take care of these girls. For them the only way to not undergo it is to run away from their homes.

    There are still of course ardent male and female defenders of the practice. Jomo Kenyatta himself was one such person on the basis of maintaining cultural practices. This is basically why many campaigns are focusing on alternative cultural rites.
     
  10. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Hello Fanyamambo,

    Thanks for the information you gave. I am glad to know there is a concerted and realistic effort to fight for the human rights of our African sisters.

    Culture is important but to cause so much pain and anguish in the name of culture is not good. I like the idea of alternative rites. May I suggest one that might work well for the Kenyan women?

    What comes to my mind is this: Each family will have a family heirloom for each girl child. This heirloom can be a cloth or something carved from wood or ivory or whatever material is commonly used in the community. Instead of sewing a child's genetals symbols of womanhood are sewn onto the cloth or carved into the wood or other material. These symbols have meanings that make the child feel it is good to be a woman and show her the strengths and wonders of the women who came before her. Before the girl reaches a certain age she is not allowed to touch the heirloom, but at the season of initiation a ceremony is held like the ones you have now where the older women explain to the younger women what the symbols mean. Then the heirloom is given to her. The heirloom can be passed down from generation to generation to show the continuity of ancestry within a family or tribe, or the heirloom could be created new by each generation of older wmen for the younger women to show the responsibility of each gebneration for the next.

    The key is the physical symbols that constantly remind girls of the knowledge passed down to them and the meanings of the symols will give them a respect for themselves and their families that will teach them to stay chaste because they honor their bodies

    Just a thought. I hope you find something useful in it.
     
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