Wednesday, September 26, 2012

KENYA: Girls seek refuge from cutting

The Monitor (Uganda)
September 15, 2012

Pokot girls desert their homes, fear undergoing circumcision

Girls in Amudat District in north-eastern Uganda seek refuge from schools and authorities over forced circumcision.
By Steven Ariong
Sarah Cherot is playing a hide and seek game with a dozen other girls at Kalas Girls Primary School in Amudat District. The thrills and laughter that come from them echo through the empty classrooms as it is holiday time and the other students are at home.

Ms Cherot is one of 140 girls from the Pokot community in the district that have remained at school, refusing to go back to their homes for holidays fearing to be circumcised.

“Here, we are safe and do not have to worry about forced circumcision and marriage,” says 14-year-old Cherot, who is in primary five.

Cherot, together with a group of friends, escaped from their homes in Nabokotom Village in Amudat Sub-county in March this year when their parents were preparing them to face the surgeon’s knife.
“If you get a chance and watch the way a girl or a woman cries while going through the process, you will feel like to killing the surgeon that time,” she said.

The girls say they have lost many of their friends and relatives to the knife due to excess bleeding while others have remained disabled. ... It is carried out as a ritual to initiate young girls into womanhood. ...

In 2010, government passed the law against female circumcision after health experts found it was claiming many lives of expectant mothers and girls due to prolonged pregnancy. ...

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