According to UNICEF, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Benin is 13%. 93% of women and girls want to put an end to the practice. In the southern regions of Atlantique, Mono Couffo, Plateau and Oueme usually less than 2% of women underwent FGM practices (Terre des Femmes), while in Borgou up to 58% had FGM/C performed. FGM/C is most common among the Fulani (88% cut), Bariba (77% cut) and Yoa and Lokpa (72% cut), whereas least common among the Fon (0.3% cut). The Adja do not practice FGM/C.
Terre des Femmes notes that 95% of the FGM/C performed in Benin corresponds to type II, according to the WHO classification. In Benin FGM/C is still practiced mainly to avoid women's community exclusion. Women who underwent FGM/C have better chances to find a husband. It is largely believed that FGM preserves women's virginity before marriage. In Benin religion is used as a justification for performing FGM, even though many religious leaders have spoken out against it.
See also 28 Too Many's country profile on Benin.
FGM/C Country of Origin Expert for Benin
carolynsargentwustl [dot] edu
Carolyn Sargent has worked in the northern regions of the Republic of Benin, the Atakora and Borgou zones where FGM/C is commonly practiced. She spent six years living in both rural and urban communities in Benin, conducting research on women's reproductive health issues. Her research included a study on local midwives and women healers. Dr Sargent observed these healers for two years in their interventions during childbirth and focused on other maternal and child health problems. She also conducted research with an obstetrician, Dr Eusebe Alihonou, in a village of northern Benin, where he examined pregnant women and checked FGC, which could impede labour. She has collected narratives from adult men and women regarding their perspectives on FGM/C and their reflections on their own childhood experiences. Dr Sargent is Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Washington University in St. Louis where she teaches on gender and health, with a particular focus on reproduction, medical decision-making, and the management of women's health in low-income populations.
We have no Anti-FGM/C Organisations in Benin, but would welcome suggestions. Please contact us.