Despite sufficient condemnation from both local and international human right groups, Liberia is still practicing Female Genital mutilation (FGM). Local Women right groups including Bountiful Incorporated and its Co-Founder Jestina N.K Redd have all registered their opposition to what they termed as a very harmful practice.
Jestina who herself survived being initiated called on the Liberian government and other stakeholders to help put an end to the rather hurtful practice. In a recount of her experience, Jestina explained how her father was requested by some traditional leaders to hand her over to be initiated in May 2018, a request he rejected vehemently.
Notwithstanding his rejection, she narrated he (Father) was tortured by his kinsmen “according to my little brother, our father was tortured and was forcibly taken to the traditional leaders’ village for further questioning on our whereabouts (Janet and I). After he was taken, our father was consistently abused and tortured for our location”, she said.
She said her father who returned home later became very sick, as a result of the treatment he had earlier received from the hands of his colleagues. “We rushed him to hospital, but his condition continues to become terrible, we tried every kind of medication, but we could not have a solution, and he died June 30, 2018”s, she said.
“It was a terrible situation for our family, especially my little sister and I, because our father was the primary source of support for our family (Support to education, food, health care, and many others), but sadly, this unfortunate situation has to happen. Since this situation occurred, I have been going through some severe trauma and frustration”, she mentioned.
She furthered “in October 2019, few traditional women visited my office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia; they told me to join the female genital mutilation, they further said my father had made a commitment that my sister and I were going to become members of the society, but since he has died, it is my duty to walk at the site to have myself mutilated which I rejected again. I told them if this could cause my death, let it be so, but I cannot undergo such terrible pain that would cause me being traumatized for my lifetime”.
“There is a need that this thing be put to a halt. The lives of many innocent young girls are at stick”, she said.