A total of 6,576 women aged over 15 and living in Portugal have been subject to female genital mutilation practices according to the first ever study on its incidence in the country, study coordinator Dalila Cerejo has revealed.
Of this group, the vast majority – 5,974 belong to the immigrant community from Guinea Bissau with Guinea-Conakry, Senegal and Egypt accounting for a further 163, 111 and 55 people respectively, Cerejo explained.
The researcher did report that the immigration experience led to a downturn in the desire to submit their daughters to such practices which “is an important factor to the eradication of female genital mutilation.”
This stemmed from the practice being myth-based and a “practice to adapt women to relationships with men in communities with a very deeply rooted patriarchal ideology,” said Cerejo.
The report also added that prevention campaigns should especially target Easter as this was the period when families took young females back to their countries of origin to subject them to mutilation.
In turn, Fatumata Baldé, President of the Guinea Bissau Anti-Mutilation Commission, told Lusa News Agency that half of all females are mutilated by the age of 14 according to official data gathered in 2014.
Baldé said that while the criminalisation of female genital mutilation had led to only eight convictions, it was beginning to have an effect, with some fanatecas [women who implement such practices] now refusing to do so due to the threat of criminal prosecution.
Fatumata said she would be spending Saturday, World Anti-Mutilation Day, visiting those imprisoned to heighten public awareness and continue what she termed the “clear decline in the incidence” of such practices in Guinea Bissau.