By Jan Latsha as told to Kirsten Roggenkamp.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been practiced among the Maasai as well as other ethnic groups in Africa for hundreds of years. This ritual is believed to prepare girls for marriage as the Maasai say that an “uncut” woman is dirty, and it guarantees a woman’s faithfulness to her husband. This custom makes childbirth more difficult and results in more stillborn babies. Traditionally the procedure is done by an older woman on the dirt floor of the family home. Nothing is given to relieve the girl’s pain. More information can be found online; both the World Health Organization and Wikipedia have extensive articles.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11183