More married women in Uganda opt for the ‘cut’

Uncircumcised women face stigma from husbands and community.

An anti-FGM campaign in Kenya. In Uganda, the female genital mutilation prevalence stands at 1.4 per cent, but the figure is higher in communities where the practice continues. PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Uncircumcised women face stigma from husbands and community.
  • Study shows 76 per cent of women aged between 25 and 35 have undergone the cut in Sebei eastern Uganda.

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Traditionalists in Uganda are circumcising married women more than ever, a new report says.

The survey released recently on the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Uganda showed that 24 per cent of girls aged between 10 and 14 have experienced some form of genital mutilation, while 76 per cent of women aged between 25 and 35 have undergone the cut.

The study was conducted by The Reproductive Educative and Community Health Programme (REACH), an NGO, which interviewed more than 200 youths in Sebei sub-region in eastern Uganda.

REACH executive director Beatrice Chelangat told the Daily Monitor newspaper that although circumcision of girls was on a decline, the practice among married women has become popular.

READ: Tough FGM laws keep numbers down in Uganda, but hotspots still rampant

“This is done in the full knowledge of their husbands.

“It is done at home and in the bushes, hills, caves, in unhygienic places creating a great risk of infections,” said Ms Chelangat.

She added that some women across the border into Kenya to undergo the cut.

“Wives claim that they are visiting relatives in Kenya but cross along with the local surgeons,” she said.

According to the report, uncircumcised married women face undue pressure from their husbands and community as they are not allowed to serve elders, get food from the granary, or attend traditional meetings.

“The mothers-in-law abuse them, they are shunned,” Ms Chelangat said.

Local officials have called on anti-FGM crusaders to now target married people.

Globally, it is estimated that 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive have undergone some form of female genital mutilation, according to the United Nations Population Fund

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