11 February, 2010

Female circumcision in Hadhramout

Though health and medical workers have been banned almost ten years ago from performing it, female circumcision or clitoredectomy or better described as female genital mutilation, is still practiced by many in Hadhramaut. From IRIN:
Nearly a decade after a ban on health workers performing female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Yemen, the harmful practice continues unabated, with the government saying more research is needed before an outright ban can be imposed.......In Hodeidah, Hadhramaut and al-Maharah an average of over 96 percent of women had undergone FGM/C.
As it is done in a most private way and mainly involving women only, it is very difficult to ascertain the number of girls who go through the process here; as no one truly knows the exact number of girls who go through circumcision - stating that over 96% of girls in Hadhramout now go through it, to me, is certainly incorrect. For the same reason - the privacy and secrecy involved, it is also very difficult to know the overall effect of the practice. Very few in my family or of people I know, still practice it. In cases that I know of, I am told that just a 'tiny' chip of skin is removed from the clitoris, usually a few days after the birth of the baby. Yemen being a very conservative country and as this is a very sensitive subject related to deeply held cultural traditions, it will take time before the government can completely ban the practice or impose stiffer laws against it.