Motives for the Practice – Tradition

Tradition is often described as the most important factor in the continuation of the practice. 23, 24 It is an ingrained part of certain societies which has been passed through generations and is done without question. 10

“Reasons to circumcise are traditional. It is associated with identity. It is a societal identity not for the person, a cultural identity the Somali must keep. Some people know of the health problems and have difficult experiences with delivery and other things: although they have problems, they still believe in it. It should be done” 10d

It has been found that FGM is perceived as a rite of passage ensuring the social integration of a woman in the society. It is considered a celebration, and after the ceremony the woman reaches maturity and can be considered a real woman. 11

Many parents view FGM as an act of love; if they refuse to allow their daughter to undergo this culturally significant procedure they are condemning her to a lifetime of ostracism, social ridicule and for men to see her as not fit for marriage and childbearing. 23

Melissa Gupta. (2005) Henna (creative commons)

“It is a happy occasion for the family. They make it like a festival. They buy new clothes for the girl, shoes, some families buy gold and they make henna. It is a big festival for them. The visitors give money and sweets and the girls get special meals during these days” 10e

“Before the girl goes for circumcision, they put henna on her, buy her a new dress and put lots of gold on her. During the operation there is a big party in her parents’ house with dancing, singing and eating.” 10e

25

Next motive: Religion