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Teens Still At Risk But FGM Rate Goes Down in Africa: Research

Although girls under 14 are most at risk, research should include those aged 15 to 19

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FILE - A T-shirt warns against female genital mutilation. Its wearer attends an event, discouraging harmful practices such as FGM, at a girls high school in Imbirikani, Kenya, April 21, 2016. VOA

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has dropped drastically among African children this century, research shows, but campaigners said Wednesday that teenagers and young women remained at risk of the harmful practice.

Known as FGM, female genital mutilation is a ritual that usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, including the clitoris.

Cutting is a rite of passage in many societies, often with the aim of promoting chastity. It can cause chronic pain, menstrual problems, recurrent urinary tract infections, cysts and infertility. Some girls hemorrhage to death or die from infections. It can also cause fatal childbirth complications in later life.

FGM
Amran Mahamood used to circumcise young girls in Hargeysa, Somalia, but stopped after a religious leader convinced her the rite was not required by Islamic law. VOA

Analyzing data spanning more than 20 years, BMJ Global Health said in a study there was a “huge and significant decline” in FGM in children under 14 across Africa.

East Africa had the biggest fall in its prevalence rates, dropping to 8 percent in 2016 from 71 percent in 1995, according to the BMJ study published Tuesday.

In north Africa, prevalence rates fell to 14 percent in 2015 from nearly 60 percent in 1990, the report said; west Africa dropped to about 25 percent in 2017, from 74 percent in 1996.

UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency, estimates that 200 million women and girls globally have undergone FGM, with the highest prevalence in Africa and parts of the Middle East.

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Maasai girls and a man watch a video on a mobile phone prior to the start of a social event advocating against harmful practices such as female genital mutilation at the Imbirikani Girls High School in Imbirikani, Kenya. VOA

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Campaigners welcomed the drop but said FGM also affects teenagers and young women, demographic groups outside the study.

“We are pleased to see that the numbers are coming down in a lot of countries,” said Emma Lightowlers, a spokeswoman for campaign group 28TooMany, which does research on FGM in Africa. “But it doesn’t tell the whole story and there are other groups where cutting takes place after the age of 14. It takes place in teenagers, or in fact, even in women in preparation for marriage,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Female Genital Mutilation, FGM
A badge reads “The power of labor against FGM” is seen on a volunteer during a conference on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 6, 2018. (VOA)

Julia Lalla-Maharajh, founder of the Orchid Project, which campaigns against female genital cutting, agreed.

“Growing efforts to end the practice are having an impact [but] girls in this group may still be cut when they get older,” she said in an email to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Although girls under 14 are most at risk, research should include those aged 15 to 19, said British-based charity Forward, which supports FGM survivors from African communities.

“This data should not make us complacent to say that all those girls are risk-free,” said Naana Otoo-Oyortey, head of Forward. “We need to work towards ensuring these girls are supported and protected from FGM.” (VOA)

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7 out of 10 Women Cheat on Spouses in India: Survey

The survey also showed that in India, homosexual people trapped in traditional marriages also finding same-sex partners in growing numbers

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Seven out of 10 women in India cheat on their husbands because they do not take part in domestic chores and the similar number of women turned unfaithful because their marriage had become monotonous, a survey by extra-marital dating app Gleeden said on Tuesday.

In a survey titled “Why do women commit adultery”, Gleeden, which has over 5 lakh users in India, revealed that metros, like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, have the maximum number of women who cheat on their spouses to escape unhappiness, ignorance, neglect in marriage and husbands’ non-involvement in household chores.

“Four out of 10 women on Gleeden said flirting with strangers led to greater intimacy with their spouses, which means infidelity can be helpful in re-sparkling a dead marriage,” Solene Paillet, Marketing Specialist, Gleeden told IANS.

Of the 5 lakh Indian Gleeden users, 20 per cent men and 13 per cent women admitted of cheating on their spouses.

Primarily marketed to women — specifically those who are in relationship — Gleeden app was launched in France in 2009. It arrived in India in 2017 and today, 30 per cent of its members in India are married women in the age group of 34-49 years.

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Representational image. Pixabay

Nearly 77 per cent of Indian women who chose to cheat on their husbands reasoned that their marriage had become monotonous and finding a partner outside marriage allowed them to add excitement to their lives.

“By creating a platform specifically dedicated to married women, Gleeden has catered to the monotonous and diluted lives of lakhs of women in India, where nearly three fourth of its members who engage in infidelity have no regrets whatsoever,” Paillet said.

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According to the survey, nearly 48 per cent Indian women who decide to have an extramarital affair, prefer to meet men on extramarital dating sites because they offer safety, privacy and security that is absent in real life.

The survey also showed that in India, homosexual people trapped in traditional marriages also finding same-sex partners in growing numbers. (IANS)