MONROVIA – Eleven-year-old Tracy, the female genital mutilation (FGM) victim who was kidnapped and forcibly circumcised last September, may never be able to live in Kakata Margibi where she was tortured, as Kakata Margibi and nine other counties remain a no-go zone for female genital mutilation (FGM). The practice was recently banned only in Montserrado County.
By: Mae Azango
It can be recalled that Tracy was kidnapped when she went out to sell along with other kids when they followed the sound of drums and sasa to watch sande girls dancing, hence leading to their adoption. Little Tracy’s case report stated that she was chained by both legs to stop her from escaping, while her face was tied with a black cloth, and she was eating only leftover food.
While the Benson Hospital Medical Report said the young girl’s clitoris was removed, and a blood vessel was exposed, which led to heavy vaginal bleeding. She lost a lot of blood, as evidently shown by the use of more than six sanitary pads a day. This led to her needing to be transfused with two units of blood to save her life. “Little Tracy is undergoing treatment and has not recovered from the fistula and is still living with the trauma. According to my wife, who is a nurse, the scar is very hard and visible, and she is still feeling pain in her private part. As you know, the hospital had to sew the entire virginal because a vein was cut by the zoe during the circumcision,” said Rev. Noah Tour, National Vice President of the United Liberia Inland Church.
Speaking in an exclusive interview recently at his Church office, on Old Road in Sinkor, Rev. Tour said he feared the risk of other little girls being kidnapped and circumcised in Margibi County as Tracy was because FGM is only banned in Montserrado. He is vocal about the issue because the church was victimized when two of its members, little Tracy and a full-grown male, were forcibly initiated into the Sande and Poro Societies last year.
“Banning FGM only in Montserrado is where the mockery comes in. What if a person decides to take his or her child to Margibi or any of the other ten counties to have that child initiated? Therefore, FGM should have been declared banned in all of the Counties the same day they were banning it in Montserrado. Is it because the pressure is on Montserrado, so it is banning FGM?” said Rev. Tour.
Making the declaration, he further said the church welcomes the traditional leader’s action of banning FGM, but it should be done simultaneously in all of the remaining ten Counties practicing FGM and not Montserrado alone.
On February fourth, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Zanzah Kawah, and Traditional Chiefs and Zoes, United Nations Agencies, European Union, US Embassy, Civil Society, and well-wishers gathered in Songay Town, Todee District Rural Montserrado, to officially ban FGM in Montserrado, with the promise of banning the practice in the remaining ten counties.
At the program, Liberia Culture Ambassador Madam Juli Endee said they have decided to keep sande bushes and carry out the “kpowah Sande Society,” which means initiation without mutilation, first introduced to Liberia by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Jaha Dukureh during her first visit to the country.
“We are banning the Mua and Zoebar, which have the harmful aspect, but we will continue the Kpowah Sande to teach our cultural inheritance meant to teach patriotism, skills, royalty among others so we can’t lose the culture entirely,” she said