Knowledge and Attitudes of Sudanese Youth towards Female Genital Mutilation/female Circumcision (FGM/FC)

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Case study: College of Technological Sciences (Tigana)

The Knowledge and attitudes of university female (200) and male (100) students towards FGM were investigated. The respondents were students who usually come from families of high socio-economic status, whose parents are of relatively high educational level. Despite the high level of education and economic status of the families, 73% of the female respondents were circumcised ; 52% Pharaonic (Type II+ Type III) and 48% Ciltoridetomy.

The female respondents were far more knowledgeable about the negative consequences of FGM. This is because, in the complete absence of reproductive health and sex education from the curricula of all educational levels in Sudan, the topic of FGM is more discussed among women since they are the primary and direct victims of the practice. Moreover, female respondents were found less inhibited than the male respondents in discussing matters connected with sexuality with the future husband.

Culture and traditions were admitted by the majority of female (86%) and male (73%) respondents as the focal reason for FGM practice. Nonetheless, a negative attitude has been shown by female (21%) and male (42%) respondents, who intend to circumcise their future daughters. Paradoxically 56% of the male respondents prefer uncircumcised wives. Consequently, it seems relevant to recognize the strong role of the Culture Inhibition Syndrome (CIS) that resist the positive change of attitudes towards FGM practice. Accordingly, inculcation of reproductive health and sex education in the curricula of all levels of education spear headed the recommendations. This is in addition to intensification of awareness raising campaigns to all sectors of the Sudanese of the society, and then address the culture reasons that resist the positive change in attitudes towards the practice.

Knowledge and Attitudes Of Sudanese Youth Towards Female Genital Mutilation/Female Circumcision (FGM/FC)

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Introduction

Female genital mutilation or FC is the most serious traditional practice that adversely affects the health of girls and women, particularly in the African continent. In the Sudan, FGM/FC is practiced by Muslims and Christians for many generations. Accordingly, the practice became an institutionalized tradition that has been incorporated as integral part of the social system.

The operation is usually performed on girls between 5-10 years of age. The practice of FGM/FC has numerous immediate and delayed negative physical health hazards that sometimes proved to be fatal (Rushwan 1983, 1994 and El Dareer, 1983). This is apart from the psychological social and psycho-sexual complications (Baashar, 1973; Predie et al, 1946 and Abdel Magied et al, 2003). Accordingly, within the health context, it seems logical to consider FGM/FC as a synonym of an endemic, and fatal disease specific for girls and women whenever and wherever it is prevalent and/or practiced (Abdel Magied, 1998).

Despite the three decades worth of efforts by national NGOs supported by UN agencies, international NGOs and other donors to combat FGM/FC, still statistics connected with prevalence of the practice reveal escalating figures over the decades. World fertility Survey (1979) recorded an overall prevalence of 89%, Sudan Demographic Health Survey (1989/90) recorded 89.2% and Safe Motherhood Survey (1999/2000) recorded an overall prevalence of 90% (Abdelmagied, 2001). However, at the best, prevalence situation of the practice could be considered as static since 1979 to date. Nonetheless, the positive outcome of anti-FGM collaborative efforts has mainly resulted in unveiling the practice. Hence, it is no longer a forbidden taboo to address publicly or campaign against. Nevertheless, reasons behind perpetuation of the practice are complex. Their understanding needs addressing them through multidimensional approach giving full consideration to the interrelated culture, religious, health, socio-economic, legal and political perspectives of the practice (Abdel Magied, 2001). …