Target: Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan
Goal: Praise the outlaw of female genital mutilation.
In one of his final acts as President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan signed off on a bill outlawing the practice of female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation. The horrifying practice of FGM consists of removing part of or all of a girl’s genitalia including her clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora.
Often a woman’s genitalia is removed without her consent. While various countries have a myriad of reasons to conduct FGM, it is often seen as a way to signify that a woman is ready for marriage. Moreover, by conducting this circumcision, a woman’s sexuality is supposed to be suppressed. In Nigeria, virginity is an extremely valuable commodity on the market of marriage and FGM is seen as a tool to preserve it for her husband. Finally, women’s genitalia is often seen as “unclean” and removing her genitals will promote hygiene as well as making her more aesthetically pleasing.
The procedure can often lead to severe health problems because of unsanitary conditions during the circumcision. Women will often experience lifelong problems including a failure to heal, infertility, painful sexual intercourse, and vaginal fistulas—the uncontrollable leaking of urine, as well as an increased susceptibility to HIV/AIDS.
FGM is a traumatizing and painful experience that shames women into thinking their sexuality makes them dirty and a woman of lesser value. Outlawing this practice is significant progress in ending violence against women in Africa as female genital mutilation is a widespread practice in Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent. According to a 2014 report done by UNICEF, a quarter of Nigerian women from the ages of 15 to 49 have been subjected to FGM.
Thanks to Nigerian women’s rights groups along with petitions created by the ForceChange community, FGM is finally being banned. Please sign this petition to praise former President Goodluck Jonathan for standing up for women’s rights by outlawing a practice that denied young women and girl’s basic human rights.
Dear President Goodluck Jonathan,
I applaud your decision to outlaw Female Genital Mutilation. It sends the message that you believe that women should be in control of their own bodies and that her genitalia, as well as sexuality, is nothing to be ashamed of.
According to a 2014 UNICEF report, over a quarter of Nigerian women ages 15 to 49 have undergone some form of FGM. By outlawing this practice, you are protecting future generations of Nigerian women who deserve to lead a life full of dignity and one in which her genitalia belongs to her, and her alone.
I thank you for standing in solidarity with women everywhere by outlawing a practice in which women’s human rights are violated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ibtimes