The practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), an unhealthy practice that continues to take life and render its victims life time health complications or death which is ingrained and is a way of life for the traditionalist families and ethnic tribes in Liberia nonetheless is still ongoing.
Victims of such inhuman practices of FGM over the years have cried out seeking helping from the Liberian Government, and its and government action to stop the practice has been nothing but very passive.
For the victims, resisting or refusing the family tradition spell doom for the women and girls. For the traditionalist’s families, it is an ‘abomination’, an outright disobedience to the culture. The women who reject FGM are threaten with death, physically assaulted, raped and put though physical and psychological trauma, and in some situations murdered under mysterious circumstances.
Investigating FGM practice, we were informed of a young lady, Eku Mildred Bryant who have rejected her family and relatives demands to undergo FGM and arranged marriage and is now faced with the situation of death if she returns to Liberia,
This paper contacted the victim who has since fled Liberia because of the death threats, and attempts abduction, and rape and sexual abuse and near death situations in the armed robberies she experienced while in Liberia.
Speaking to this outlet, Ms. Bryant said being pursued by family and relatives to undergo FGM and give her hand to an arranged marriage have been torturous on her life.
She laments about her ordeal and fears of being murdered if she ever returns to live in Liberia. “Liberia is my home and I love my country, but my tribe people are bent on exacting revenge on me. I do not want to die like others, raped and forced to undergo FGM.
“It is very sad for Liberia that innocent people are killed in the name of refusing to cultural practice of FGM and those murderers roam free with impunity” …She retorted.
The victim called upon authorities in Liberia to put a stop to FGM practices and asked for justice to be done.
She said her story is of a battered and haunted young Liberian woman who faced death, physical assaults. She had to abandon her other child and flee Liberia. According to the victim, she fears for her life and the life of her young childleft behind in Liberia. She is a sufferer/victim of the abuse of the pursuers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and she remains traumatized because of the situations.
“Since I have known myself as a young woman, my sister and I faced this torment of going to bush school and undergoing FGM. We girls were reminded over and over again that bush school is a must, and the culture that I come from; the rights of women are never respected. Women are considered lesser of humans and must obey ancient tradition even if our own lives are in danger. To resist is to die or be witched”, she voiced out.
According to the victim, despite being away, she is still being threatening with death for her to undergo FGM. “I was constantly put under immense pressure to adhere to family tradition of genital circumcision and I was branded an outcast that must be taught a terrible lesson, she blotted.
“I was also put in a situation whereby I am to married to a man older enough to be my grandfather, because the family and relatives started receiving dowry since I was a little girl. It is really very much unacceptable to me and infringes on my human rights and rights to freedom and choice. I must have free choice as to who I want to be married to, and not someone arranged for me”, she strongly stressed.
She said since her refusal to do what her pursuers want, she encountered several near death situations.
According to Sanctuary for Families, New York, 2013 Report on FGM, FGM is centuries-old practice of female genital mutilation is deeply ingrained in cultural norms and beliefs about the role of girls and women in society.
This is true to the Liberian situation and what this victim has elucidated. There is more work both locally and internationally, that needs to be done to rid Liberia and the rest of the world from this evil and outright human rights abuse on girls and women. No one must be made to experience such evil as presented by the pursuers and perpetrators of FG M undeniable quest to satisfy some tradition norms or belief.
It is our utmost conviction that the fight, advocacy and international laws prohibiting the practice, and protecting women and girls continue to find reason and gain grounds. We urge that outreach, sensitization, and education must continue to stemmer on and called upon countries to be robust and consistent in enforcing the laws against the FGM practices and its vices.