This summer a team of the famous “Red Line”-program of the Kurdish satellite channel NRT joined Wadi in Garmyan region to visit the Sarqalla district, a region in which Wadi is actively working to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) since 2004. According the various data collections the rate of newly mutilated girls in this region dropped dramatically. In 2004 almost 75% of all females in Garmyan region were mutilated, according to a recent research done by Heartland Alliance in 2016 today a majority of women opposes this practice.
The 45 minutes feature of NRT focus on the ongoing debate about FGM in Iraqi-Kurdistan.
The journalists interviewed a midwife who still mutilates girls and women, although this practice was banned by law in 2011. Unfortunately still authorities do not implement this law seriously and many midwifes are able to continue mutilating girls without being punished. The TV-report about FGM and its physical, psychological, potentially deadly effects on the victim:
H. A. M. (the midwife) was born in 1923, the NRT team asked her questions about FGM such as: why she did it? How she did it? How many girls and women did she mutilate in a day? Was the reason religious or the based on other beliefs? Or it was a Kurdish cultural thing which came from older generations?
She explained that she mutilated girls because it was in the Sunnah, and if she did not mutilate them, ‘accepting water and food from an un-cut girl is forbidden’. She went on to say that she only ‘cut a small part of the girls private parts’ with a razor blade, then they would put ash on it or give the girl a pain killer. She was unsure of the number of girls that had been mutilated. Her reasons for doing it were the Mullah’s speeches, as well as it being traditional.
The NRT team then interviewed J. A. A., a victim of FGM. She explained that one of the reasons for her divorce was her mutilation. She also explained that even though her own grandmother was a mutilation midwife she could not bring herself to perform the act on her own granddaughter (J.A.A).
The NRT team also interviewed one of the Garmyan Wadi team members about Wadi’s work and activities. The physical and psychological damages and effects of FGM on women and girls were highlighted in this interview.
At the end the NRT team thanked Wadi for coordinating the interview for their program. They also mentioned that among the organizations in Garmyan Wadi is the only one who provides these services for people and works to put an end to violence and FGM.