Summer is female genital mutilation season in Egypt

- PHOTO TAKEN 13JUN06 - A woman holds a card in her lap about the problems with female genital mutilation (FGM) during a session to educate women in Minia, Egypt June 13, 2006. The practice of FGM dates back over two thousand years in Egypt and is widely practiced in all levels of society for [Muslims and Christians] alike. Many [organizations like UNICEF] have funded programs to help educate people about the risks and dangers of FGM in order to change people's opinions on this procedure which is seen by many as a necessary social norm. Picture taken June 13, 2006. - RTXOQUY

Instead of looking forward to ice cream and pool parties, millions of Egyptian girls live in terror as summer marks the beginning of female genital mutilation (FGM) season. Though it’s been illegal since 2008, FGM is the norm in Egypt. A May government report showed that “92 percent of married Egyptian women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to FGM, down from ninety-seven percent in 2000.”  According to the U.N. more than 125 million girls and women have suffered from FGM, and 25 percent of them live in Egypt — more than any other country.  The practice targets girls between the ages of nine and 12 in the summer months so they can recover at home before school starts. The U.N. is clear that FGM can cause life-long emotional and physical trauma, and has no medical benefits. Jaime Nadal-Roig, the U.N. Population Fund representative in Cairo reportedly told CNN, “This is a gross human rights violation. It doesn’t add anything to the life of the girl, and there are no medical or religious grounds whatsoever.” Nadal-Roig also said, “People used to have a party after a girl was circumcised … so for them to turn from there and say, ‘look this is a crime or this is a sin or this is not allowed by religion’ means confronting a lot of beliefs and social norms.”

Read the full story at the CNN.

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