Aisse Cisse and the fight against female genital mutilation

It is estimated that 200 million women have been victims Worldwide.

It is linked to cultural beliefs and there is great social pressure for families to maintain the custom

In more than 30 countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is a current custom. Some 14,000 minors, settled in Spain, visit their families and could suffer it. “It is linked to cultural beliefs and there is a great social pressure on families for this reason, its eradication is slow” tells us Aisse Cisse, mediator of the Doctors of the World program for its prevention in C-LM.

She works in schools in Albacete and Recas, in Toledo, where more than 20% of her students come from countries where female genital mutilation is practiced.

Inform and raise awareness about the consequences

The most dangerous time for girls is when they are going to travel to their countries. It is found out through the teachers. It is then that Aisse, within a comprehensive approachHe meets with the parents. She speaks to them in their language, she knows what it means in her culture where she is linked to being a better Muslim, a better mother… Idoia Ugarte, from the state group of Doctors of the World against female genital mutilation, insists, they are spoken to “with respect, without blaming”.

They are spoken to with respect, without blaming

Aisse’s perception is that “when they are made to see that the Koran says nothing about this practice, that millions of women in the world have healthy children without having been mutilated, when they are told about the probable damage to their health that it will cause They separate their daughters.”

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The preventive commitment

At the meeting, the parents must sign a preventive commitment that they will not perform female genital mutilation on their daughters. To prove it, when she returns from her trip the girl will go to a health center where she will be checked. Two copies are signed. One stays with the family. For them, explains Idoia, it is “a safeguard”. She empowers them in front of their communities so they don’t have to.

Preventive commitment empowers families. Gives them a justification for not keeping the practice

At the Recas school, since 2018 when the mediation program started, 22 girls have been “saved” after meetings with parents. Gonzalo Ballesteros is the center’s director. It is up to him, as an institution, to inform about the legal actions that they would face in Spain, if a girl returns mutilated. Here is a crime of injury punishable by imprisonment from 6 to 12 years and loss of parental authority.

“That we have been able to save 22 girls in Recas is very happy, confesses Aisse, but what we are looking for is that they too be agents of change. That they explain to their families of origin that they should not continue this tradition.” Her work, too, has caused problems. “There are those who think that you have come to Europe and deny your country, your culture, but there are people who are like that.” “Sometimes we are late, girls who have been practiced before school age.” It is her story. She barely remembers him because she was so little.

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The NGOs warn that it has even begun to be performed on newborns. Notices that demonstrate the work that lies ahead. UNICEF estimates that 30 million girls could be victims in the next decade.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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