November 18, 2009
A new film focuses on the fight by African activists against an ancient practice that is still performed each year on millions of girls: female circumcision, often known as FGM, or female genital mutilation. Opponents call it a human rights abuse that destroys a woman’s ability to enjoy sex, is sometimes fatal, and frequently leads to lifelong pain and disability.
“I was forcefully cut when I was 14 years,” says Kenyan anti-FGM activist Agnes Pareyio. “I tried to resist; everybody was calling me a coward. There was a lot of peer pressure on me that forced me to prove to them that I was not a coward. But I hated it. So, I grew up hating it and made sure that not my daughter, not anybody who can listen to me, will undergo FGM.”
The village-by-village effort of education and persuasion that Pareyio and others like her in Somalia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mali have taken on is the subject of “Africa Rising: The Grassroots Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation,” made by Paula Heredia for Equality Now, a group that works to promote human rights for women.