Female genital mutilation (FGM), a process by which procedures are carried out intentionally to “alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (UNICEF), has shone its light on the attention of individuals as the continuous international effort has been made to target this crisis. In fact, FGM-centered countries have conducted more than 200 million procedures, including Africa, the Middle East, and Asia (UNICEF). Giselle Portenier, an award-winning journalist and film marker, conjoined the loathsome despair hovering amid the nature of FGM in Northern Tanzania into a heart-warming film, In the Name of Your Daughter. Ad Verum members and other grade eleven and grade twelve students organized the screening of this film on April 29th, 2019 in the lecture theatre. Around sixty students, adults, friends, teachers, faculty, and family friends attended the screening and watched the Q&A with Giselle and three Ad Verum members after the film.
The tradition of FGM has ruled on for centuries, and men believe it is the process by which promiscuity is diminished and fidelity is achieved; however, under the consequence of perpetual pain and violation in the lives and rights of the female. Atop of such belief, one additional conviction akin to its doctrine is the materialistic value of mutilated girls upheld by the society. As parents plan the marriages of their young child, they, in turn, receive the reward of “bride price” in cows; mutilated girls demand more cows than unmutilated girls. Repeatedly over the film, the nature of men seems to govern around the economic welfare; concurrently, however, their merits appear to have degenerated to the savagery of primitiveness, whose essence no longer embodies the freedom of mind humans are bestowed with. As the month of the cutting season continues, Rhobi Samwelly, a woman whose countenance of benevolence and charisma exhaust the roots of this tradition, brings the girls to the Safe House where they are protected. To further resolve this issue, Mugumu police officer, Sijali Nyambuche, and her team take action to arrest offenders– including parents and cutters. As the season veils its monthly calamity, both parents and girls are submitted to the resolution of this issue’s dilemma: whether parents will unveil their cemented hearts prolonged and stiffened by this issue and take their daughters back home safely.
As UNICEF and WHO have proposed condemnation of the practice throughout the years, such as setting public policies, more and more international organizations have taken on the role of ending this custom. In a Q & A panel after the screening, however, Portenier stated that Canada has in fact, taken very little actions to remedy this issue. But as more attention centers around this global crisis, there seems to be an inclined trajectory on which more and more countries and participants will take part in this problem. Giselle Portenier believes that it is crucial for young people to voice their concerns and advocate for girl’s rights worldwide to bring more awareness to this issue.
By Andy Liang