In an unprecedented move, a court order was issued banning the genital mutilation of two teenage girls in one of Kenya’s Rift Province. The courts’ ruling placed an injunction based on the girls “non-consent” that prohibits their father from allowing them to undergo the painful procedure or female genital mutilation (FGM). In another historic step, the court’s magistrate ordered the father to continue to provide financial support to the girls. Ordinarily, in communities where FGM is practiced women that do not undergo the cutting and or removal of their clitoris are shunned.
The practice of female genital mutilation is practiced and celebrated as a girl’s rights of passage in more than 28 countries in Africa, including Syria and Saudi Arabia. It has become increasingly evident among emigrant populations living in Europe and the United States. United Nations statistics estimate that 130 million women in the world have been forced to undergo FGM, and that 2 million more are at risk each year. FGM varies in form, although all are equally severe and harmful to women’s health, ranging from: clitoridectomy, the removal of prepuce (skin covering the clitoris) and/or the removal of the clitoris; excision, the removal of the prepuce and clitoris and/or the partial or complete removal of the labia; to infibulation, the partial or complete removal of external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening. This procedure leaves only a tiny opening, about the size of a pinpoint in some cases, making it extremely painful to urinate and menstruate.