Network AID seek the welfare and well-being of illiterate women/girls, young people, persons with disability and deprive children to have a healthy, safe, inclusive and corrupt-free society where they are recognized, respected and identity protectedNetwork AID - Publications
Rugiatu Nenneh Turay Executive Director AIM

How Many More Before Action Is Taken?

MESSAGE TO OUR POLITICAL LEADERS OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES ,  TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS, OUR MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND WOMEN GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY AS WE  ENTER 2022

1. HOW MANY MORE 🔪 BEFORE ACTION  IS TAKEN?

2. Who benefits from carrying out Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FGM/C)?

I wake up with these two questions above in my mind after pondering the whole night on the spate of FGM in the Country and the untold disability it has caused in the lives of so many women and girls. I thought of the 15-year-old at the Kailahun government hospital with a catheter and leaking parts because her parents chose to have her cut. The lifeless body of the 21-year-old lying in the Bo Government Hospital mortuary awaiting an autopsy haunts my thoughts. She gave in to peer and societal pressure, little knowing the real and for her, fatal consequences of being cut. 

In Rosengbeh village Koya chiefdom where the Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM) is presently constructing a modern primary school after removal of a  bondo bush, the father of a deceased 9-year-old confessed that his daughter died in the bondo Bush in 2021  after she was cut and experienced excessive bleeding. In Matiba, a village where another school is under construction a young girl walks limping around.  Her mother said she developed the limp after she was cut and has not walked the same since then. A young woman sits outside their house at Falaba Road, Bake Loko chiefdom , Port Loko Town angry after a forced initiation. She protested and refused to be cut but was overwhelmed by her parents. Today, her mental health is affected and she has not been able to continue with school.

We have reports of many girls who are of  school-going age who could not sit their last NPSE exams because they were taken into the bondo Bush for initiations. We are calling the attention of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education  responsible  for the education of our children. These incidents are not isolated and are happening  more frequently all over the Country.

In 2017 a 19-year-old Fatmata Turay died in Makeni and a 28-year-old was forcefully cut in Kenema of the same year. A 10-year-old died in Mile 91 in 2019 of the same shock and excessive bleeding. 

My cousin Fatmata Baby Turay died of tetanus after being cut.in Mathaska village.  In Kontha Village, a woman pregnant in her six months was cut and died of shock and excessive bleeding. How many more?  These deaths and other consequences are always associated with witchcraft, demons, and evil spirits possessing the victims. There are so many more unfortunate cases associated with FGM/C all over the Country that are unreported.

In all of these cases mentioned above, I have not heard of the daughter of neither a politician nor an educated or prominent person or a medical person involved. 

I have read and listened to daughters of prominent politicians, both late and living, bragging about  the kind of protection their parents mounted to prevent them being cut. Paramount Chiefs who are custodians of culture and tradition are protecting their daughters, so are our medical practitioners. 

Instead it is our vulnerable communities who are unaware of the consequences of these practices who vehemently protect the practise as their culture and tradition. 
However, the only constant truism about culture and tradition is  "All Culture and Traditions are subject to change." 
The leaders we elect, whether traditional or political, to represent us refuse to speak the truth even though they are aware of the diverse consequences. The medical people who handle most of these medical issues caused by the practice of mutilating or cutting the clitoris have also kept sealed lips, leaving it to the politicians because they say it's a political issue. I can't mention our religious leaders who command so much respect in their communities and the Country at large but keep quiet even after gaining the awareness and knowing rightly from their holy scriptures (Bible or Quran) that the practice has no religious justification from any religious books. 

Women have been fooled to believe that FGM is good for them. They lure their daughters with the promise of buying them gifts to make them full-grown women. Most mothers cry in their rooms while their daughters are led to the darkroom or forest to be cut. Yes, they cry because they know what it means to be under the knife. They know the pain and suffering they undergo. They know there is shock, fever, excessive bleeding, tetanus and even transmission of diseases such HIV/ AIDS but when it happens it is associated with witchcraft, evil, and demons. They know the pain to urinate, fistula and infections. They know the delay in labor.

To the politicians of our land:  Former President Ernest Koroma has two daughters but we have never heard about their initiatio. Hon. Alimamy P. Koroma, Hon. Alhaji Kemoh Sesay, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu, Hon. Alfred Paolo Conteh, Hon. Dr. Richard Konteh, Hon. Dr. Keifala Marah, Dr. Samura Mathew  Wilson Kamara etc all of the APC, I am very sure that they protect their daughters and still protect them. 

His Excellency Julius Maada Bio:  the First Lady has stated, she will not stand for her children to be cut. This means your daughters are safe,  so are the daughters of Hon. Dr. Moinina David Sengeh, Hon. Dr. Alpha Wurie, Hon. Mohamed  Haji Kella, Hon. Mohamed Swaray, Hon. Foday Yumkella, 
The NGC leader in Parliament Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Dr. Denis Bright, Hon. Emerson Lamina of the C4C, all of your daughters are safe.

Sierra Leoneans in positions of power and authority, women leaders, and all should begin a sincere search into our souls and ask yourselves a few questions. Are we sincere with what we are fighting to protect?  What benefit does it have for the majority of our women? Are we liberated to liberate others? 
The issues of FGM should not be given a political color.  It should be addressed with all sincerity by all political party leaders, religious and traditional leaders, medical practitioners. 

In 2021, Forum Against Harmful Practises started engagement with political parties and we will continue in that direction in 2022. We want to now call on the SLPP party which has been the only party that has not accepted to meet with us to do so in 2022
We will also engage with the different denominations in the religious bodies. 

This fight to end FGM should be the business of everybody, men and women. 
On behalf of anti-FGM campaigners, I want to wish all Sierra Leoneans a happy and productive New Year as we expect a change of Social Norms for the sake of our daughters and the Country.
God bless Sierra Leone 
Rugiatu Neneh Turay anti FGM campaigner AIM

blog comments powered by Disqus

Follow, like, subscribe

Server IP: 54.177.158.246

Network AID seek the welfare and well-being of illiterate women/girls, young people, persons with disability and deprive children to have a healthy, safe, inclusive and corrupt-free society where they are recognized, respected and identity protected