Criminalization Of FGM, Combined With Community Engagement, Can Help End Violence Against Women, Girls

The Guardian: Nigeria’s bill targeting FGM is a positive step, but must be backed by investment
Stella Mukasa, director of gender, violence, and rights at the International Center for Research on Women

“The Nigerian senate recently passed its violence against persons prohibition (VAPP) bill, which seeks to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as all other forms of gender-based violence. … Such laws are a must. They are particularly critical for organizations working tirelessly to end FGM. In Nigeria, this law provides them with a legal framework and backing to tackle the problem. The legislation sends a clear message on impunity and serves as a basis for holding government to account. However, criminalization of entrenched cultural practices has its limitations. While legal safeguards are an important step towards ending FGM, they are not enough to eliminate it. Ending violence against women and girls requires investment, not just laws written in statute books. This is why we must emphasize community engagement, with a view towards shifting social norms, as a critical component of the eradication of FGM…” (5/20).