Female Genital Cutting  


Photo 42: Paths by the river bed





Photo 43: a haraté





Photo 44: Gallé



























The practice of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) knows no borders – neither geographical, religious nor social. The only discernible border is the ethnic group itself.

FGC is practiced in about 41 countries in many different ways. The operation is a sign of social control and standardization. Through it, the marriageability of the girl is declared. This painful marking is hidden, irreversible and unambiguous. Only through FGC can the young woman gain social acceptance for future sexual activities.

In the Arbore, FGC is a long-established ritual to mark the passage from unmarried girl to bride. The operation, with all its consequences, is considered normal. There are no doubters or critics. Nobody I asked, neither man nor woman, denied the immense pain, the fear and pity for daughter, sister or girlfriend. But an elimination of FGC from their cultural conventions seemed to be unimaginable for nearly all. What else should distinguish women from girls, respectable females from bitches, strong people from weak?