What price can you put on a girl?

When girls are unable to contribute to their communities and societies, they become assets to be bought and sold. Blogger Tony emotively explains how economic concerns are a driving force behind FGM.

What has become of our communities? Community members willingly contribute cows to be slaughtered during Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) ceremonies but they can’t offer even a single cow to support girl child education. FGM is more appealing to community members since once the girl has undergone mutilation the family is bound to get many cows as dowry for the girl. This means that the family can be able to repay community members who contributed their cows during the ceremony. It’s very paining to see that education is not valued at all and early marriages are rampant.

Do we call this poverty, ignorance or lack of information?

A culture where a girl child is valued in terms of cows should be condemned by all means possible.  Imagine a woman goes to labour the community members are so eager to know the gender of the baby, if the baby turns out to be a boy that’s a warrior to the society; whereas if it’s a girl that’s wealth/cows to the family. As the girl child grows up old men can be seen circling around the homestead like hungry hyenas that have gone for a week without a bite.

The father of the girl becomes a ‘’Celeb” in the society with most of his bills being paid by men who are trying to woo him and increase their chances of getting the girl. By the time the girl is six years the father already has a clear indication of how many cows he can fetch from marrying her off. The poor girl is unconscious of what is really happening around her. If only she knew she is valued in terms of cows and soon she will face the “Cut” and be married off. Well is this social obligation or ignorance?

A traditional female circumciser in a remote village in Kenya's Tharaka Programme Unit [photo credit: plan international]

A traditional female circumciser in a remote village in Kenya's Tharaka Programme Unit [photo credit: plan international]

Then one day the mother of the girl happily informs her that it’s time to become a woman. Now this sounds crazy - after all she is a girl, and when she matures past puberty she is bound to become a mature woman naturally. But unfortunately for this girl her community has another meaning attached to becoming a woman! What follows is a rite of passage full of pain and agony; well I guess I don’t have the right words to describe it. The girl is left wondering is it man or God who is crazy since in her understanding God created her perfectly.

Again she cannot understand why her own family members and especially her mother could allow her to undergo the pain of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the name of becoming a woman.

Soon after the girl recovers from the ‘’Cut”, the man who won the heart of her father arrives with a herd of cattle to claim what is illegally his. Double tragedy I call it. Within a few months the belly of the girl is swollen, and to make the matter worse it’s not as a result of overfeeding as you would normally expect of a girl this age. She is pregnant from what can only be termed as a shameful act of an elderly man.

This cycle is repeated every second, minute, hour, day, month, year, generation to generation. What are you doing to stop this? How I wish this could be stopped once and for all. “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Brigham Young. Well think about it!