By Amin Kef Sesay
The Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP) has reported that a 21-year-old woman, Maseray Sei, died as a result of excessive bleeding after her clitoris were cut. According to members of the Forum, the death of Maseray is a wake-up call to all women organizations.
“We don’t need to work on FGM before you can make a statement condemning the action which has led to the death of another woman…. We are all Maseray,” Rugiatu Neneh Koroma Head of the Forum stated.
Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP), a coalition of 21 organizations working to End FGM in a press release, is calling on Government through the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs to take the necessary action to give justice to the late woman.
“One death is too many in the name of culture,” Rugiatu averred and added by calling on women groups to see the need to join the campaign to protect the lives of their compatriots, of which most are not only illiterate but ignorant.
“We have a responsibility, all human rights issues are women’s issues, End FGM,” she entreated.
In a Press Release issued on the 22ndDecember 2021 on the incident of the death of a 21-year-old woman in Bonthe District, the Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP) said it has come to its attention that a 21-year-old woman was found dead in a bondo bush at Nyandeni village, Imperri Chiefdom, Bonthe district. It was reported that the late Maseray Sei was found dead at approximately 4: 30am on Monday 20th December 2021 having allegedly bled to death after undergoing FGM/C in an initiation with other young women.
It continued that FAHP has also been informed that four Sowei women and, the Acting Section Chief Nasiru Koroma of Bigo Section, who permitted the initiation, are helping the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) with investigations at the Sierra Rutile Police Division in Moriba Town, whilst the corpse has been taken to the Bo Government hospital for postmortem.
FAHP, said it is appreciative of the fact that the matter is being investigated by the SLP and that a postmortem has been ordered.
“We also want to remind all Sierra Leoneans that the ban on initiations into secret societies during the COVID- 19 emergency outbreak has not been lifted,” it was indicated furthering that any initiation programme, therefore, is against Government regulations and those funding and promoting initiations can also be held liable.
FAHP states that the cutting of girls and women’s clitorises for no medical or any valid purpose, wherever it is carried out, is a barbaric act and has no place in Sierra Leone.
FAHP stated that its membership visited the Bo Government Hospital on the 20thDecember 2021, to confirm the arrival of the corpse from Bonthe.
According to the Forum, The Public Relations officer in Bo Government Hospital advised that the corpse will be kept at the mortuary until the pathologist and only medical doctor certified to perform post-mortems returns to office.
FAHP ,a coalition of 21 registered NGOs working to End FGM/C in Sierra Leone working in all the six regions of Sierra Leone, has committed to pay all bills throughout this period until a post-mortem is carried out.
FAHP and its partners, including the International Community, are therefore calling for the total abandonment of this harmful practice.
“We are also calling on the Ministries of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Social Welfare, Local Government and Rural Development and Political and Public Affairs and all stakeholders to use this unfortunate incident to shift their stances from ‘age of consent’ to total abandonment and a ban of FGM/C, uphold the Bondo heritage, Bondo is not FGM/C,” the Forum affirmatively stated.
Courtesy of the Calabash 24th December 2021