The practice of FGM violates a number of agreed human rights laws and principles approved by the United Nations. These include:
- Equality and the right to be free from all forms of discrimination against women;
- the right to life and physical integrity;
- the right to good health and wellbeing;
- Freedom from violence, injury, abuse , torture, cruel, inhuman or undignified treatment;
- The rights of the child. Children have a special right to health care, safe environments, education and a protected childhood that allows full growth and development.
FGM can cause both short-term and long-term physical and psychological complications.
Physical complications include:
- Extreme pain: FGM is normally performed without any anaesthesia Girls can go into shock because of extreme pain and stress.
- Severe bleeding: this is caused by damage to blood vessels. In some cases this can lead to death.
- Risk of infection: The use of unsterilized blades and traditional methods for healing the wounds may cause serious infections such as tetanus and even HIV.
- Difficulty in passing urine and menstruation: due to fear of passing urine or damage to the urinary tract and/or reproductive organs.
Psychological complications include:
- Anger at the circumciser or those who arranged for FGM to be carried out.
- Emotional distress, fear and feelings of helplessness.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression for a long time after FGM.
- Sexual phobia resulting in fear and difficulties in having sex.
- Feeling of not being a ‘whole’ or a ‘normal’ girl or woman may be felt by some girls /women because of FGM.
- Because the clitoris is so sensitive, a woman’s sexual; pleasure is greatly decreased by its removal. This can have negative effects in a marriage and in sexual relations. However, FGM does not take away sexual desire because sexual relations are more than physical; feelings such as love, passion, and companionship are also important for pleasure.
The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014 indicate that 21 percent of women in Kenya have been circumcised. The practice is nearly universal in North Eastern region at 98 percent compared with Eastern region at 26 percent.
FGM is high, in varying degrees in the following counties referred as ‘hot spots’: Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, Narok, Kajiado, West Pokot, Baringo, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori (Kuria), Bungoma (Mt. Elgon), Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, and Elgeyo Marakwet.
Police officers, members of the provincial administration, children’s officers, probation officers, gender and social development officers, and cultural officers.
The offences are spelt out in part IV of the Act.
This section provides, among others, that a person, including a person undergoing a course or of training while under supervision by a medical practitioner or midwife, who performs female genital mutilation on another person commits an offence.
If in the process of committing an offence under subsection (I) a person causes the death of another, that person shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for life.
It is no defense to a charge under this section that the person on whom the act was involving FGM was performed consented to that act, or that the person charged believed that such consent had been given.
A person who aides, abets, counsels or procures a person to commit an offence under section 19; or another person to perform FGM on that other person, commits an offence.
A person commits an offence if she/he takes another person from Kenya to another country, or arranges for another person to be brought into Kenya from another country, with the intention of having that other person subjected to FGM.
A person who knowingly allows any premises, for which that person is in control of, or responsible for, to be used for purposes of performing FGM, commits an offence.
A person who is found in possession of a tool or equipment for a purpose connected with the performance of FGM commits an offence.
A person commits an offence if the person, being aware that an offence of FGM has been, is in the process of being, or intends to be, committed, fails to report accordingly to a law enforcement officer.
Any person who uses derogatory or abusive language that is intended to ridicule, embarrass or otherwise harm a woman for having not undergone FGM, or a man for marrying or otherwise supporting a woman who has not undergone FGM, commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not less than six months, or to a fine not less than fifty thousand shillings or both.
A person who commits an offence under this Act is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not less than three years, or to a fine of not less than two hundred thousand shillings or both.