Egyptian Minister of Health Adel Adawy announced this week that a report has found 92 percent of married women in Egypt have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). He reported his findings in the 2014 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey.
The barbaric procedure takes place between the ages of nine and twelve. Adawy said only 31 percent of those procedures actually took place with a doctor. However, the report also found that “50 percent of married women in Egypt favor female genital mutilation and is in accordance with religious teachings, while 30 percent believe it should be banned.”
Egypt banned FGM in 2007 “after a young girl died during the operation.” The law forbids anyone from performing the procedure. Authorities also closed the loophole that allowed girls to undergo FGM for health reasons.
But parents are determined to get around the law. In February, Awataf Mohamed Ali told The Guardian she wanted a doctor to perform FGM on her 10-year-old daughter Shahd. Ali insisted without the surgery her daughter would be “ill-mannered,” do “bad things,” and be “badly behaved.” Ali heard the arguments about FGM, but resisted to conform.
“My husband strongly feels that she should be circumcised,” she claimed. “It’s an inherited process, something that’s been going on for a very long time, and basically they want to continue it.”
In 2014, the World Health Organization reported “more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle east where GM is concentrated.” Somalia tops the list with 98 percent:
In eight countries, almost all young girls are cut. In Somalia, the prevalence is 98 percent, in Guinea 96 percent, in Djibouti 93 percent and in Egypt, in spite of its partly Westernised image, 91 percent. In Eritrea and Mali the figure is 89 percent and a prevalence of 88 percent was reported in both Sierra Leone and Sudan.
An Egyptian doctor received prison time in January 2015 after 13-year-old Sohair al-Bata’s died from the surgery. The court sentenced the man “to two years in prison with hard labour for manslaughter and three months for performing the banned practice.” Authorities also sentenced al-Bata’a’s father to three months in prison.