A Press Release about Launching "No to Medicalizing FGM" Campaign
On November 25th, the world celebrates International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, which ends with the celebration of Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10th. This tradition began in 1999 with a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, remarking November 25th of each year as a day to raise awareness of all forms of violence against women.
The choice of this day is due to the memory of the killing of the Mirabal sisters, political activists and feminists in the Dominican Republic in 1966.
This global celebration comes to shed light on the suffering of women and girls in Egypt. Since their birth, they have lived with discrimination and violent practices against them in treatment, through dropping out of education, early marriage, genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence and deprivation of inheritance. etc.
FGM crime comes on top of the crimes that girls and women in Egypt suffer from. Rather, Egypt occupies a leading position globally in the rates of such crime. Despite the efforts of the State authorities during the past two decades, trying to eradicate FGM, results proved that the size of the change is not commensurate in any way with the scale of these efforts.
Years of national campaigns raising awareness of the dangers of this habit and its legal criminalization have not resulted in a significant decrease in FGM rates, except by a small percentage. According to the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2014, the prevalence of female circumcision is about 92% among women who have been married (15- 49 years). On another hand, about 70% of young men of both sexes support circumcision of their daughters in the future, according to a survey of young people issued in 2014.
Egypt also faces a real challenge represented in increasing the percentage of circumcision crimes committed by male and female doctors and medical service providers to 78.4% (EDHS 2014) in what is known as the phenomenon of circumcision medicine.
Despite the existence of an article in the Egyptian Penal Code (242 bis), amended in 2016, which stipulates that whoever performs female circumcision shall be punished with imprisonment from five to seven years, and it shall be raised to rigorous imprisonment in the event that it leads to permanent disability or death, and the text of Article 242 bis (A), which carries a prison sentence of one to three years for anyone who accompanies a female to perform a circumcision.
Sentences have not been enforced against medical providers who carry out this offence despite an express legal provision.
In the face of these alarming and increasing numbers, the Tadwein for Gender Studies decided to highlight, during this year’s 16 Days Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women, the crime of circumcision medicine in particular, in an attempt to raise the awareness of doctors and those reluctant to seek medical services and advice about the futility of conducting this procedure. The process, as it is not taught in the current Egyptian medical curricula and has never been mentioned in any medical curriculum at all, and has countless psychological, social and health damages to girls and women.