The objective of this is to investigate African immigrant women’s perceptions of female genital mutilation (FGM) within the Canadian Criminal Code. Ten African immigrant women resident in Windsor, Canada were selected using snowball sampling for interviews. These women were of four African nationalities, namely Nigeria, Ghana, Somalia and Sudan. Semi-structured interview protocol with open answer possibilities guided the interviews. Most of the participants (70%) had undergone FGM, 25% had not and 5% were unable to confirm their FGM status. Participants’ perceptions of sexuality remained inconclusive, and were linked to their ethnicity and religion. The participants noted that the association between FGM and infertility in western societies was questionable and Eurocentric. Despite the prevalence of FGM, African nations have high fertility, averaging six or more children. Participants reported the need to provide a prevention protocol that is not based on ethnocentric values but gives adult women the choice to be circumcised or not. Although recent literature in developed countries continue to highlight the negative outcomes of FGM, participants in this study are starting to question the criminalization of FGM based on protecting the rights of women and children because of the ‘restructuring and reconstruction of the vagina’ in developed countries.
Key words: Female genital mutilation (FGM), fertility/infertility, African immigrant women.
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