Did You Know…? Eighty-Eight Percent of Sierra Leonean Girls Are Genitally Cut

Bordered by Guinea to the North, Liberia to the Southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the West and Southwest, the Republic of Sierra Leone has a population of approximately 5.2 Million. This West African nation is rich in mineral resources, and has the world’s largest harbors.

According to statistical reports, 88% of girls in Sierra Leone undergo female genital mutilation.  The reason why FGM is so common in Sierra Leone is because it is practiced by a secret society called the Bondo Bush Society.  The Bondo Bush, an all-female secret society is similar or the same as Liberia’s Sande Bush.  In the Sierra Leonean Bondo Bush, the excisor is referred to as the Sowei, while in the Liberian Sande Bush, the excisor is called the Zoe.  Women that are members of the Bondo Society are regarded as having a higher standing than other women in Sierra Leone.  The cost of FGM, which is included in the initiation into the Bondo Society is quite expensive; therefore parents are proud when their daughters are initiated into the Bondo because it shows they are financially stable and able to afford this.

In Sierra Leone, FGM usually consists of removing the clitoris as a major part in preparing the young women for marriage and motherhood through this initiation ceremony.  A woman’s initiation is synonymous with women’s power in Sierra Leone, and the act of excision is a reminder that women are from which all human creation is derived.  The Bondo Society elders believe that excision improves sexual satisfaction as it removes focus from the clitoris.