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Final Project: Culture, Advocacy, and Sexual Practices

Although female genital mutilation (FGM) is illegal in 26 states in the United States and most countries, it is a practice that still exists around the world. Many young girls return to their country of origin to visit relatives during the summer break. It is typically at this time that these young girls are mutilated. More than 125 million girls and women have been cut in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls at some time between infancy and age 15.

According to the World Health Organization (2014), female genital mutilation has many cultural implications. Here are some of the cultural aspects related to FGM:

  • Often it is considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
  • Many communities believe it reduces a woman’s libido and therefore is believed to help her resist “illicit” sexual acts.
  • It is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and “beautiful” after removal of body parts that are considered “male” or “unclean.”
  • Although no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
  • Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: Some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
  • Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel, can contribute to upholding the practice.

For this Project, discuss how you would address the practice of female genital mutilation with a family that believes in this practice. Research the underlying sexual beliefs of this practice and how you would address these views. Use the provided resources and your own search of the Walden Library to support your efforts of advocacy. Discuss the major barriers you believe exist in advocating for this practice to cease. How would you approach the barriers in order to try to remove them?

In a 4- to 6-page paper:

  • Present twoto threestrategies that you, as a helping professional, would implement if working with a family that supports this cultural practice.
  • Provide a rationale for the strategies you have chosen and how they relate to the underlying cultural beliefs and practices.
  • Summarize how you think helping professionals can help advocate for young girls within these cultures

Project Resources:

  • Berg, R., & Denison, E. (2012). Effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent female genital mutilation/cutting: A systematic review. Studies in Family Planning, 43(2), 135–146.
  • Diop, N., & Askew, I. (2009). The effectiveness of a community-based education program on abandoning female genital mutilation/cutting in Senegal. Studies in Family Planning, 40(4), 307–318.
  • World Health Organization. (2014). Female genital mutilation (Fact sheet No. 241). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
  • Yoder, P., Wang, S., & Johansen, E. (2013). Estimates of female genital mutilation/cutting in 27 African countries and Yemen. Studies in Family Planning, 44(2), 189–204.

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