"The Missing Females; Women's against Women." The case of female circumcision in Ejagham region, Cameroon" Evelyn A. Mafeni*

Abstract:
The programme titled "Keep Women Intact; Women Need to be Themselves" was initiated in thirteen villages in the Ejagham region located in southern part of Cameroon which shares borders with south-eastern Nigeria, by a team of elite women under the auspices of ABEMO a Non-Governmental Organisation working for the improvement of the lives of women and children locally and nationally in the Cameroon communities.

This action was intended to eradicate the brutal cutting of girls, which is traditionally practised, and which holds the primitive believes that it controls female sexuality, birth rate and above all conserves the monogamous status of women. The strategies developed were geared towards, resolving the cultural conflicts in this cultural practice, eliminating the discrimination behind the practice, modelling with victims and above all exposing the population to the health hazards in the practice. This paper therefore examines an insight to the conflictual issue of female cutting and its impact in the region.

Finding using an elaborate checklist and sensitisation meetings reveals that cutting is being done for girls as young as two weeks of age. This new phase of cutting babies is intended to by-pass the up-coming resistant to cutting of enlighten girls and women, which clearly indicates that prevalence is increasing in this region. While men dissociate themselves from the practice as being women's own business and making, the circumcised women discriminate by looking low to those who are uncircumcised. The result of this discriminatory culture has turned the woman-folk in the Ejagham region into "man hunters" as many keep searching for what they think there are missing out, thus contradicting the original purpose for which the practice was carried out.

Key words:
Women, culture, female circumcision, conflict, Cameroon

Corresponding author and presenter. Address: P.O. Box 247 Bamenda, Northwest Province, Cameroon. Telephone: (237) 336 33 68. Email: evemafeni@yahoo.com

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