The Upper West Regional Director for the Department of Gender, Charity Batuure has said although the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, (FGM) had continually decreased over the years in the region, there were pockets of recalcitrant groups still perpetuating the heinous act. “Comapring from past years till date, there has been great improvement.
There has been a reduction in the practice and we do not have people openly practicing it, as it used to be in the 70s.” She explained that the groups can mainly be found around the border towns of the region saying “the region is positioned in such a way that there are a number of border towns. If you look at the Eastern Corridor, the Wa West area and the Sissala zones; we still have people who cross over to have the practice done.”
Madam Batuure said these groups continued the act in the name of protecting their culture adding that people were attached to it and it was difficult to change such mindsets because “it is the way of life people have lived. They met their ancestors doing it and so some of them would hold on dearly to those beliefs they have in the practice.”
“The so called reasons that they give that they want a woman to remain chaste and not be promiscuous are not genuine. These are the husbands who will have the faithful wives but will still want to go out and have sexual affairs with others. The woman would therefore have been put in pain for nothing.” She described the practice as backward, barbaric and not a reflection of women empowerment agenda. Madam Batuure was speaking to Radio Ghana’s Mark Smith at Wa on the celebration of world FGM day.
Female Genital Mutilation is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all the external female genitalia.
The Upper West Regional Director for the Department of Gender, Charity Batuure said her office would continue to educate residents to desist from the practice. She said the Gender Department would continue to give counseling to women who have undergone the practice because “once it is mutilated, it cannot come back. What we can do is for them to be counseled because sometimes it leaves them in trauma.”
She appealed to parents to stop giving their children out for this process to be undertaken as “they are gradually killing an innocent baby that might die in the process of child birth if the mother is not able to push for the baby to come out. They are also to bear the burden of killing an innocent woman who went to deliver and did not come back. They are also to bear the burden of giving women a condition like fistula where they will be leaking urine and feces.”
The Director stressed that the process made the woman less human because “of the way they treat these women, it is dehumanizing.”
Madam Batuure urged husbands whose wives had been through the ordeal to encourage them to be confident. She was excited about the readiness of traditional leaders, opinion leaders and assembly members to join the fight against FGM.
Story by Mark Smith