Eritrea bans female genital mutilation

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Here's some good news from the other side of the planet. Eritrea, a little country on the right-hand side of the African continent (with great, yummy food, by the way) has banned female genital mutilation (sometimes called "female circumcision"). This painful, dangerous tradition serves no medical purpose and instead can lead to a lifetime of painful urination and intercourse, difficulty in giving birth, and even death.

Basically, as I understand it, the idea is to whack off parts of a girl's naughty bits, including (but not limited to) the clitoris. This is often done by unskilled practitioners with crude instruments. According to a 2002 survey done by the government of Eritrea, 62 percent of women in that country had been subjected to FGM before they were even a year old and less than one in a hundred had been worked on by trained health professionals.

"FGM is a deep-rooted culture and it needs a persistent continuous effort (to halt it)," said Luul Ghebreab, president of National Union of Eritrean Women. "We do not believe [this ban] will automatically eradicate circumcision, but surely it will play a role." Hopefully, the ban, which specifies both monetary penalties and imprisonment for anyone who "requests, incites or promotes female circumcision," will make a significant contribution to eradicating this practice.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.