Village in Sierra Leone Bans Female Genital Mutilation Ceremonies Because it’s Expensive

There’s a story out of Sierra Leone in the rural village of Thawuya where the traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilation has not only ended, but it’s been banned. Good news, right? Girls will no longer have to go through the torturous and barbaric practice of FGM. 

But the choice to end the practice had nothing to do with the fact that it’s morally reprehensible. FGM in this village has ended because it’s become too expensive. The people of Thawuya pull all of their resources together to host FGM ceremonies, which last two weeks at a time and take place several times a year. The costs include food, new clothing, and fees for the parents of the girls.

The ceremonies were costly, so much so, that politicians used the costs of FGM ceremonies to their advantage, paying for cutting ceremonies to buy votes. The only positive note in this story is the ban now allows the people of the village to use their resources to provide education for Thawuya’s girls.

For those who are not aware, Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM, is the act of cutting a girl’s genitalia in the name of “cultural tradition.” The circumcision has everything to do with male power structures controlling female bodies, preventing girls from experiencing sexual pleasure in their futures. Men in communities where FGM is practiced, approve of it due to their belief that putting girls through this torture makes them feminine and clean.

There are absolutely no health benefits to cutting a girl’s genitalia and as a result of the cutting, girls end up with serious and extremely painful consequences throughout their lifetime and many FGM victims die.

According to the World Health Organization, FGM happens to 3 million girls annually in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Cutting also takes place here in the United States, with more than 500,000 girls having been cut in this country.

Thomas Reuters Foundation has more on this story.