FGM AND THE ALTERNATIVE RITES OF PASSAGE
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The foul scourge of Female Genital Mutilation (so-called 'circumcision') is very prevalent in this very conservative tribal area. In their tribal culture it is regarded as a Major Rite of Passage - the ritual transition from childhood to adulthood, for boys and girls, aged between 12 to 16.
For young girls it is a traumatic and grieviously wounding procedure, carried out with no anaesthetic, no antiseptics, no pain killers, in extremely unhygienic and primitive conditions. They are expected to bear the pain as a sign of strength required to become a woman. They then face early, arranged marriages, with little chance of a secondary education - their horizons are closed down.