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Abolish Female Genital Mutilation Now

Abolish Female Genital Mutilation Now

Every  year , when it is time  for  schools to close down  for  the  holidays little huts are  erected  at  the  backyards  of  senior  members  of  the Bondo society  called  ‘sowes’  throughout  the country. These senior members  or  ‘sowes’ would be seen making frantic moves  from one house  to  the other advocating  with  parents for  their young girls to be initiated  into  the Bondo  society  even  most  times  against  the wishes  of  the children .

The  girls  with ages  ranging  from  5  to  teens  are handed  over  to  the  initiators  who  would  take  them  to the  huts/shrines  and forcefully  initiate  them  by  cutting  off  their  clitoris  with  a  crude  instrument  causing  profuse  bleeding  resulting  in  tetanus  and  most  time  deaths  for those  who  could  not  stand  the  pain. In  the  event  of  death, they  are  not  investigated  properly  because  laws  have  not  yet  been  enacted  to  bring  the  perpetrators  to  book  in  order  to  stop  this  deadly  practice  that  is  against  human  rights.

After  becoming  members  of the  society , these  girls  are  forced  into  early  marriage mostly  to  elderly  men  about   twice  their  age  and  end  up  with  unwanted  pregnancy  and  ultimate  death.  In  the  provinces,  any  girl  who  is  not  a  member  of  the  society   is  considered  to  be  an outcast.

I  am therefore  calling  on  the  government  and  stakeholders   to  abolish  the  Bondo  society   which  practice  is  of  serious   concern  in our modern day  society  and save  our  girl  children.

by Samuel Henry Taylor, Freelance Journalist

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  • Today Sierra Leone the campaigning for next year’s elections, as has been the case in previous ones, politicians are being careful not to offend members of the Bondo. The society exists among almost all-major ethnic groups in the country. It conducts rites of passage into womanhood especially in the rural areas. Women from all walks of life are members and it continues to be a powerful force in the country’s politics, despite controversies in the past few years over its practice of FGM.
    Mr Government try to stop FGM .

    10th November 2011
  • Young girls in that part of the country are being forced into becoming members of the Bondo society, as parents consider the rite as a transition from childhood to womanhood. Those girls who say no to initiation often stand the risk of being shunned by the peers, or ostracised by their parents and the society. This compels most girls to accept the practice, notwithstanding the health complications that follow it afterward. Some 15 African states have banned the practice. Our government have to put stop now to FGM.

    10th November 2011
  • I think this writer correct to stop FGM Now.But When our Government’s Wives in Sierra Leone sponsors the circumcision of 1,600 young girls to win votes for their husbands, you know you’ve got a problem persuading ordinary people and the government that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a bad idea. FGM remains a vote-winner in our country Sierra Leone and other African countries.

    8th August 2011
  • Last week 31-05 2011 in Sierra Leone group members, ranging from 3-year-old girls to adult women, have stayed for a week dancing, feasting sharing lessons about womanhood as part of an ancestral communal ritual known as Bondo Society , which culminates in having their external genitals cut off – a practice commonly referred to as female circumcision in SIERRA LEONE chain on the outskirts of the capital.Today Sierra Leone we estimates as many as 90 percent of women undergo this ritual practices. The ‘sowe’ (initiator) used blade for cutting which in most cases is not sterilized and There are no surgical tools in the bush, No sterilization No anesthetic, No doctors or nurses are with the’sowe'(initiator).
    The practice which leads to harmful effects, has aroused concern over the past decades both locally and across the international scene to stop this practice now and stop attacking Journalists.

    7th June 2011
  • Dear Sierra Express Media,
    Am delighted to express myself to your notable office for this article which you post online and this article is a Sensitive article and our office will like to Encouraging other Sierra Leone online Press newspaper to footsteps and expose the Bondo Society perpetrators in order for them to stop the deadly practice that is against our Children in Sierra Leone. Government also should help stop FGM but they cannot because political campaign .

    16th May 2011
  • Dear Samuel am very happy and delighted over your article online and you really make we african try to understand the problems and try to stop FGM . Thanks and keep the good work man .
    Mr Joe

    28th January 2011
  • Say no to FGM.These operation should be abolished,this operation may also make sexual intercourse ( which is naturally pleasurable for a woman) a painful ordeal.Thanks keep it up.

    14th December 2010
  • Thanks Henry, good work we Sierra leonean need to say no to FGM,all the same take your time because the society people will try to hunt you down.stay bless.

    14th December 2010
  • Thanks Samuel for your article, we Sierra leonean need to stop cutting away the external genital organs, is a very dangerous operation that causes many life-long health problems.It interferes with a woman natural sexuality.Keep up the good work.

    10th December 2010
  • Dear Mr Journalist,
    I want you to know that no one will able to stop our Bondo Society in Sierra Leone even our Government today cannot able to stop FGM. It’s better for you journalists to fight against poverty and HIV in africa and The Western world.Even the debate programme now cannot stop our Bondo Society in Sierra Leone or any human rights groups in Sierra Leone both at home and abroad we stand to our Society and we born in the society.
    Take your time it’s because society people relax to hunt you journalists and you forget about the Four female journalists, including a UN-radio reporter, attacked 2009 when a society group strip and make them marched through a Sierra Leonean town by a pro-female genital mutilation. May be you forget.

    Miss Haja Kamara

    10th December 2010
  • Dear Samuel ,
    I think you study your journalist for bondo society ? it’s better for you to forget about bondo society in Sierra Leone because we sierra leonean woman cannot Neglect our culture. Because it’s from our great father’s generation days society ok , just stop from this article now and write about HIV control programme for European countries , not Bondo Society in Sierra Leone.
    Miss Sadiatu Sesay
    Sierra Leonean.

    10th December 2010
  • Dear Taylor,
    Thanks for ur article online because we Sierra Leonean need to put stop to FGM now. As some journalists are fighting against FGM lik you keep the good work. But am advising you to take ‘ur time because of the society people around the country will hunt you down ok. Student sierra leone.

    5th December 2010
  • Dear Mr Samuel Henry Taylor,
    Thanks for your article as we Sierra Leoneans are very happy for such article online by Sierra Express Media United State for such article. This article make so many comments in US for the past two days now.
    Thanks and keep it up because we need to stop FGM now in our country Sierra Leone.May God bless you Sir.

    4th December 2010
    “We are going to build boarding schools so that we protect our children from these local surgeons,” Museveni told the cheering crowds at Kween district headquarters.

    He described the practice as backward and ungodly.
    “How can you oppose God? God wired human beings the way he wanted them to be. You cannot be more clever than God to change his creation,” he said.

    The President urged the surgeons to form an association so that he could help them find an alternative source of income.”

    3rd December 2010
  • I can tell that Samuel has been been brainwashed into calling for the ban on FGM. FGM has been a part of our Sierra Leonean culture for ages and it will continue to be a part of it because our politicians will not bow down to pressure from outsiders. Having said that, I do believe that safe and hygienic instruments should be used whenever the procedure is carried out. An an age of consent on the part of the girl should also be required so that she would not be circumcised against her wishes. I don’t see Africans going around telling westerners to ban same sex marriages when we all know that it is morally reprehensible for a man to be attracted to a man and for a woman to be attracted to a woman. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the old testament of the bible tells us all how God really felt about such relationships.

    29th November 2010
  • Cherish Others is implementing a project targeting the Maasai Community of TransMara District, Kenya. The community is highly recognized as one of few African communities that have managed to preserve their own cultural practices despite observed dramatic social changes of modernization due to westernization presented amongst the adjacent societies. This has earned them admiration and has raised curiosity of people from both within and without Kenya. This factor coupled with the fact that a part of the famous Mara Game Reserve is found in this district makes TransMara an important tourist destination.

    The community needs to do away infamous practices such as FGM, followed by early marriage that undermines the women. Efforts are now geared on stopping FGM and economically empowering the Maasai woman.

    The proposed project is providing FGM information and conducting education campaigns to the whole community in the district as well as supporting and encouraging girls and women in rejecting FGM and early marriage, and instead continuing with more years of education. So far 5000 girls have been reached as well as 10000 general community members with such messages.

    Main challenge posed is the fact that even with this effort some girls eventually agree to undergo FGM due to intimidation and persuasion from parents and their peers. Maasai girls are circumcised, often secretly, in the months of April, August and December, at the age of 13 to 15. They are then immediately married off, usually becoming one of many wives. The girls’ education is cut off at this stage.

    The TransMara District Commissioner, DC and the current Member of Parliament are working very hard to discourage the practice. However, more and more cases of FGM and early marriage continue to be presented before the DC.

    The project targets girls, women, young men, Maasai morans, community elders, circumcisers, faith-based organizations and other interest groups.

    A major problem is the earnings of the elderly women who act as circumcisers, who have an important stake in continuing the practice. It costs about Kshs 2000/= (USD28.5)for the family to circumcise one girl. In peak periods a circumciser may earn a gross profit of more than Kshs 60, 000/=(USD850). The project reaches the circumcisers,too since many of them rely on conducting this operation for a living.

    29th November 2010
  • Dear Samuel,
    The issues of FGM as stated by you is totally misplaced and uncalled for.We must commend the women for upholding such a sacred practice as it help them alot in making our society very decent and preparing the girls to face the challenges of their womanhood without fear . why is WHO and other organisation calling on men to practice male circumsicion as scientist have shown that it help in the fight against HIV and Aid. It should be noted that with the clitoris it enhances the urge for sex hence the increase in prostitution.Please think of something else and completely forget about FGM and ask the whiteman to tackle the serious problems plaqueing their society.

    29th November 2010

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