It is unthinkable that such an act as female genital mutilation could occur in this part of the world. But in certain parts of Africa and Middle Eastern countries it is the norm, a rite of passage for girls as young as age four.
But in the eyes of many this horrific act which has been perpetuated against helpless young girls for years is nothing more than a crime against helpless victims.
Internationally known Somalian model Waris Dirie who herself is a victim of FGM has made it her life work to fight against this crime and to hear Dirie tell it "This has not been an easy fight."
Dirie who has been making her voice heard against FGM for years through her Desert Flower Foundation does not intend to stop until FGM is outlawed. Some 140 million girls are affected.
For those who do not know FGM is a destructive operation during which the female genitals are partially or entirely removed or injured with the goal of inhibiting a woman's sexual feelings.
The wound is then stitched shut leaving only a tiny opening where the genitals had been.
Most often it is performed on girls between the ages of four and eight without anaesthesia. But, according to Dirie, recently it is being performed on babies who are only a few weeks or months old.
Dirie stressed that if the girls are not cut their parents would not receive a lucrative bride price for their daughters. "This practice has been endured in the name of religion and culture," she said. Read about Waris Dirie's fight against this barbaric practice.
She spoke with writer Kimberly Castillo.
Writer Lorraine Waldropt-Ferguson took a walk into East Side Plaza, Port of Spain, last Wednesday where she met confectioner Enid Foy.
Foy who came to Trinidad from St Vincent at age 20 is a well loved confectioner known by her customers as "granny" making a variety of old time local delicacies. She is the subject of our Real Women, Real Stories this week. In this bumper 32-page issue US-based correspondent Allan Wesley poses the question, "Are you picking the wrong men? while famed photographer Calvin French gives us an insight into some of the fashion which is available as the festive season approaches.
All of this are mixed in with a variety of interesting and informative articles for you to enjoy.Remember be kind to each other.
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