This week the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival are offering the general public an opportunity to learn more about women’s issues around the world through the camera’s eye and through live performances.
Sarabah is a rapper, singer and activist striving to bring attention to the cultural practice of cutting female genitalia to make girls more chaste and marriageable.
The custom is practiced in many countries in Africa as well as in parts of the Middle East. In the western world it is considered a form of torture. New York Times writer, Nicholas D. Kristof reports:
“People usually torture those whom they fear or despise. But one of the most common forms of torture in the modern world, incomparably more widespread than waterboarding or electric shocks, is inflicted by mothers on daughters they love.”
Human rights groups have been struggling to make headway into stopping this ritual that in many cases predates Christianity, Islamic faiths as well as the Jewish faith. Human Rights Watch have developed a list of questions and answers about female genital cutting.
Practitioners believe the tradition keeps girls chaste and lowers their sex drive. However, it has led to a wide variety of health problems and in some cases even death.
Nadia Sussman, a New York Times reporter, interviewed high school students in Brooklyn who have immigrated to the U.S. from West African countries. The healing process from female genital cutting is more than physical as these young women attest.