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Ritual Female Genital Mutilation: A Psychosocial Analysis of a Flourishing Rather than a Dying Tradition in Oworonshoki Community, Lagos, Nigeria

JL Oyefara

Abstract


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a flourishing rather than a dying traditional practice in contemporary Nigeria. This article adopts psychosocial analysis model in order to understand the dynamics of the persistence and flourishing nature of this traditional practice in spite of its de-medicalization and criminalization in the country at tripartite macro, meso and micro levels. To achieve this objective, a non-experimental research design was adopted. In the design, cross-sectional survey and in-depth interview research methods were utilized. A total 350 questionnaires were  administered during the survey among ever married women, while 25 in-depth interviews were organized for different stakeholders in the study location to complement survey data. Elicited data were analyzed with the aids of quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques. Findings at macro-level reveal the psychosocial context/environment of the FGM as a
practice that is strongly rooted in the culture, economic and belief system of the people. The meso analysis shows the psychosocial  mechanism/support for the FGM in the study population. This mediating process that occurs at inter-personal cum personal levels reinforces and sustains the continuation of the practice. Thus, FGM is a practice that has both social and psychological origin. The micro-analysis reveals the psychosocial effects/outcomes of FGM on the affected women. Many of the women that had undergone FGM are more likely than uncircumcised women to experience pain during sexual intercourse, phobia when spouse calls for sex due to traumatic experience of previous experiences, and suffer psychological distress and unhappiness in their marriages. On the basis of these findings, psychosocial interventions have been recommended in order to improve the wellbeing and health of affected women in one hand and to stem and reverse the recent increase of the practice in the country on the other hand.

Key Words: Female genital mutilation, psychosocial analysis, tradition, Lagos state, Nigeria.




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