FGM in Mauritania and Senegal – “The Devil’s Share”

29 Sep

In both, Mauritania and Senegal female genital mutilation (FGM)is widespread, particularly in remote and rural areas. A woman’s non-mutilated genitals are believed to be “the devil’s share”, where the devil hides. A woman can therefore not control her body, since the devil causes her to be overcome by lust and desire. Only the brutal mutilation can preserve her purity and guarantee her fidelity to her husband.

A victim reported: She will never forget the sharp razor that she saw in the hands of the woman who performed the circumcision, and she will never forget seeing the razor covered in the blood. The pain that accompanied this procedure is planted into her soul forever.”

Many NGO’s as well as the government and religious leaders work closely together to eradicate the awful practice. The Senegalese government even sets the goal to abandon the practice by 2017. If it succeeds it will be the first country in the world to entirely give up female genital mutilation.

Despite the efforts, FGM is still performed in secret, which shows importance of getting to the bottom of the problem, namely empowering women, reducing poverty and increasing the possibility for education for both girls and boys to educate them towards a gender-equal society – only then can FGM be entirely abandoned.


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