4. Female Circumcision
It’s common for men and boys to be circumcised, but when the same is done to women and girls, it raises more than just eyebrows. The practice is fairly common in the northern region of Sudan. It’s performed mainly in the Shendi and Haj-Yousif tribes. They believe that female circumcision promotes premarital chastity, and uncircumcised women are perceived as impure and thus not fit for marriage.
Female circumcision is performed early in life while the girls are between the ages of four and nine. Some who practice it believe that it will prevent a girl from having wild sexual desires before and even after marriage. Others believe that a circumcised woman is cleaner. Still others do it because it is a societal custom. The process entails partially or totally altering the external parts of the female genitalia.
Previously, female circumcision was publicly practiced and was accompanied by feast, song, and dance. However, it’s now done in secret because it’s illegal in many countries. This custom is also alive among the Somali, Masai, Kisii, and Meru tribes in Kenya, in Southeast Asia, in some parts of the middle east, and also in North African countries. Although men in these communities have first wives who are circumcised, they secretly choose a second or even third uncircumcised wife later on. Some women are open to this custom, which has continually attracted backlash from international activists, but those who would rather reject the practice often find that they have no choice against this tradition and its powerful influence.