Today, is the day I have chosen to formally launch this website, which represents a starting point to open discussions on nearly twenty years of my academic research and experience on the field in Sub-Sahara Africa among African women who celebrate female initiation and circumcision as well as among circumcised African female immigrants in western countries who bear the stigma of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It is my hope to engage with as wide an audience as possible, to invite viewpoints and feedback from different people throughout the world who are interested in this topic for one reason or another and to share my own knowledge on behalf of future generations of African girls and women who descend from ethnic groups that practice female and male initiation as integral aspects of culture, tradition and gender identity.
I will post weekly or bi-weekly commentaries inviting responses from readers as well as guest postings from experts within a broad-range of disciplines that adddress the topic of female circumcision. I especially encourage those girls and women who are directly affected by the practice either positively or negatively to engage in these discussions and broaden the debate as much as possible so that all sides can be heard.
My first ever blog posting will be this Sunday, February 10 on the topic of International Zero-Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation Day. So, to get the ball rolling... do zero-tolerance policies and criminal legislation help in ending female circumcision or do these initiatives just stigmatize and cause further harm to African immigrant girls and women? Are these policies fair or evenly applied to other groups - should they be? - or should the UN continue to view African girls and women as a special category that require unusual measures for protection?