The role played by men in influencing female circumcision among the Meru of Kenya
The purpose of this study is to establish whether men play any role in influencing women undergo clitoridectomy,a cultural practice that has persisted in Meru despite massive campaign against it by various women leaders and non governmental organizations. For example, the surgical operation and the associated rituals have been regarded as harmful to the physical and psychological well being of the initiates. However, more and more girls and young women are still circumcised in Tharaka and Nyambene areas ofMeru. One of the aims of this study was to determine whether women just decide to be mutilated or whether they are forced by circumstances to undergo this rite. It was also important too determine whether men treat circumcised women equally with those uncircumcised. The study also looked at what forces had sustained female circumcision despite high level of Christianity in Meru. The impact of the ban and the sensitization campaigns that have been launched in Meru North and Tharaka districts was also examined. What is presented in this dissertation is therefore a critical look and analysis of those factors that make men force women to be circumcised among the Meru community. The study aims to contribute to an issue at Kenya's women and forward looking men concern and policy makers as regards female genital mutilation. Although the government of Kenya has banned female circumcision, the fight against this vice has been entirely left to women, who are fighting a losing battle. The study aims to bring a new dimension to this war that is making men say no to female circumcision because they are the force behind it. Since men are the overall decision-makers when it comes to family matters, they are likely to be effective against the war on female circumcision if they are properly sensitized. By addressing the role played by men in female circumcision, this paper aims at educating the men on the dangers of perpetuating a cultural practice that has been overtaken by events and that is destructive to their beloved one's. The study was pursued through an in-depth examination of female circumcision among the Meru living on the Eastern slopes of Mt.Kenya.