The opportunity for Yamina Benguigui, the minister in charge of the French-Speaking countries, to make the point. She made a long declaration on the French site “20 minutes” on the eve of the World Forum for the French-Speaking women which will take place on the next March 3rd and 4th in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).
As a reminder, excision is practised in 29 countries of Africa. In France, 53.000 women would be excised, 30 % of their daughters still at a risk of being excised during a stay in their native country.
Yamina Benguigui who had dedicated her first documentary, “Femmes d’islam” (Women of Islam) in 1992, to this theme – she followed the work of sensitization of the Red Cross in villages of Mali – declared: “in France, excision is an offence liable to ten years of detention, 150.000 euros of fine and interdiction of access to the territory for five years. There have been 30 trials since 1979. We also want to emphasize on the sensitization. It is necessary to inform, to communicate, and to work on proximity.”
The first generation sub-Saharan African immigrants fossilized the customs, and made of women the guards of the traditions. Yet the teaching profession is not enough notified. It is essential and necessary for this sensitization to be made first in the schools.
Excised women are amputated of a part of their reproductive organ. They use knife or razor to cut the clitoris and the big lips.
Some became aware that it had no link with religion. The excision does not exist in the Koran. It is a pre-Islamic, Pharaonic custom which continues and which is barbarous. One of them told me: “we became as dead wood “.
The experience showed that there are no excision practising men but only women. It happens between women. It is necessary to break the chain through sensitization. Girls have to dare to speak to teaching profession and around them, even if it has to involve incriminating their parents. Because it is there all the difficulty: excision is in the center of the family. This taboo is the most difficult. It is necessary to explain that excision is a crime.
As soon as schooling of girls increases, the rate of excision falls. In Ghana, 70 % of women of more than 40 years old were excised. Today, only 16 % of the teenagers are concerned, thanks to the policy led since a decade on schooling of the girls.