Sudan: Law Without Education Falls Short

A new law was passed in Sudan at the end of 2008, marking great strides in the improvement of the status of women, but more than a law is necessary for change. In Sudan, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is now illegal and will no longer be a performed procedure at hospitals and clinics. But in a state where more than 2/3 of women have undergone the procedure, deep-seated attitudes and misinformation will have to be overcome for it to be completely abolished. In order for this practice to be put to a stop, the traditional beliefs that the cutting of the clitoris makes a girl clean and marriagable will have to be put aside by education about how it harms girls in Sudan. Although hospitals and clinics will cease the cutting, most procedures are not carried out by medical professionals, but by women in each village who have no medical training. So a law is simply not enough. They must be taught the harmful ramifications of the traditional circumcision in order for women in Sudan to be free of this mutilation. Who will do this teaching? Does the government have plans for this? These are the key questions now.

—by LJL

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