The dreadful practice is increasing, says Canadian author and women’s rights activist, Farzana Hassan, because aid workers/support networks are no where to be found due to the virus crisis and the social and economic decline it is causing worldwide.
You can be sure that Somalis resettled by the tens of thousands in America brought some of these “entrenched social norms” with them.
From the Toronto Sun:
HASSAN: COVID-19 brings FGM increase to Africa
COVID-19 has caused widespread illness, death and economic misery everywhere. It has also given rise to social problems, exacerbating crimes like female genital mutilation in the developing world.
Recent reports from Somalia, the country with the highest percentage of FGM, show a disturbing trend. This brutality inflicted on underage girls has reportedly increased during these weeks of confinement and isolation.
This is not entirely unexpected.
In fact, humanitarian agencies across the world predicted the figures would get worse. The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in all forms of violence toward girls, partly because their access to the support networks put in place by humanitarian agencies has been blocked.
Any small gains previously made toward gender equality and the basic human rights of women and girls have suffered a serious blow.
They had been getting this support at school or in the workplace, but now they are confined to their most dangerous environment: home. The pressure is on parents and guardians to provide for them under these economically stressful times. The solution for families is to get these girls married off, and in Somalia only girls who have undergone FGM stand any chance of marriage.
Regrettably, the mutilation is not confined to Somalia. In other African countries, like Sudan and Sierra Leone, the practice is also prevalent. It is a manifestation of entrenched social norms rooted in gross gender inequality right across the continent.
A staggering 98% of African females have endured the painful and traumatic procedure of having parts of their outer genitalia cut off by women who have made a profession out of this. Of these victims, 40% happen to be under the age of 15.
The first time I ever heard of this sick and depraved practice was when I read Ayan Hirsi Ali’s first book ‘Infidel’ in 2007. The author describes in graphic detail what was done to her.
If you don’t know exactly what the procedure involves, see this short Youtube video: