Female Genital Mutilation FGM: A Cultural Controversy in Cameroon

Published on Botsotso, by Denis F. Tembong, not dated.

Introduction: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) remains a health hazard as well as cultural problem in the communities where it is practised. The practice is common in some parts of Cameroon, a bilingual country with French and English as main official languages, situated in the Central African Region. According to the Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR), FGM is not illegal in Cameroon.  This is also confirmed in Country Reports 2003 Section 5 and Fraternet October 2, 2001. In practice, according to the Web site Fraternet, there are still “too many cases of genital mutilation” in Cameroon. In addition, it is reported in the same source that “20% of Cameroon women are victims of sexual mutilation.” Also CRR 2003, 66; United Nations Nov. 2003, 133) reveal that the practice of FGM in Cameroon is particularly prevalent in the Extreme North, the South-West and the North-West Regions of the country where the practice is said to affect 100% of Muslim girls and 63.6% of Christian girls.” 

(United Nations Nov. 2003, 133). It should be said here that between 2003 and 2008, no significant drop in the practice of FGM has been recorded because information gathered recently shows that the practice has not significantly diminished.

Feminist movements, government, and international community at large are putting in fabulous efforts in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cameroon. These bodies in recent times have taken central stage in the eradication of this ‘negative’ cultural value, which was once considered to be prestigious and important in the physical and spiritual development of the human being. In Cameroon research reveals that the practice takes place in many regions and at varying degrees. Brenda Yufeh indicates that in the Far-North Region the practice stands at 35 -50 percent while in Ejagham in Manyu Division of the South West Region, it ranges from 75 – 90 percent. Ayuk Esther of the Cameroon Young Jurist Legal Resource Centre (CYJULERC) in Buea, reveals that there are nine villages around Ejagham where the practice is rated at 100 percent. According to her, countless number of girls are targeted daily for mutilation in these areas. What is curious about this fight is that many practitioners of FGM are still to be convinced of the harm it causes on the girl child. They rather believe that the fight against FGM is counter productive and is intended to crumble traditional foundations and cultural values of the people. The villagers, especially advocates of the ritual think that their pride as well as their source of livelihood is ruined through campaigns against FGM. The importance attached to the fight against FGM and the barricades raised by proponents to defend it cause enormous curiosity as to what it is all about. Particularly someone who has never seen a victim or imagine what it is all about.

What is FGM all about? … //

… Conclusion:

The fight against FGM in Cameroon is making limping progress though, because varied dimensions and strategies have been taken to educate and sensitize people against the dangers of FGM. Campaigners are on the radio, televisions and even in parliament, trying to get the a law enacted against it. The fight against it is huge and severe, however, the communities involved in the practice seem to be multiplying their efforts by same measure, to resists and protect their traditional values. The fight therefore stands on a balance in the Manyu Division of the South West Region of Cameroon. The rituals which accompany FGM are so strongly rooted in the people that they prefer to die with them than to give up. Therefore the campaign against FGM remains largely controversial with an uncertain future in this community, since the FGM is not a common enemy to all.

Works Cited: … (full long text).

Links /Liens:

Cameroun-Mutilations génitales féminines: Des pratiques à couper court;

Cameroun: Bilan des Journées de développement durable de Douala;

Cameroun / Dédicace: Hemley Boum présente le clan des femmes ce jeudi 10 mars à Douala;

Journaliste camerounais inculpé: Communiqué du comité pour la protection des journalistes;

Cameroun: Visages contrastés du 8 mars;

Cameroun: 100 ans de lutte pour les droits des femmes;

Cameroun: Célébration de la journée de la femme;

Côte d’Ivoire: Plusieurs femmes tuées lors d’une manifestation pro-Ouattara.

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