There is legislation, and there is the private activity that ignores the law:
Despite a 2008 ban on the brutal practice, 90% of women under the age of 50 have been mutilated in Egypt. FGM is the partial or complete removal of a female's external genitalia. It is considered to be a "sacred" ritual by many African tribal communities and by various Islamic sects. FGM serves no positive medical purpose. On the contrary, women who have been subjected to this practice experience recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, lack of sexual desire, an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths, and the need for later surgeries. Immediate side effects include severe pain, bleeding and psychological trauma, shock, hemorrhaging, tetanus or sepsis and bacterial infection.
When a woman has undergone such an ordeal, it would seem that she would like to spare her daughters, but often she is unable. Customs are pervasive, the religious authorities add their weight, and a husband's rule is law -- unless the women is very determined, as Nahla was:
“I lived with my husband for seven years. He was ‘the master,’ and I had no problem with what he did. I let him make all the decisions in every matter that had to do with my life and the life of our daughter and son. I tried to obey him so that he would not hurt me – physically or verbally.
“I was subjected to FGM as a child. I can still remember until now the details of that crime that was committed against me. Because of the FGM, I suffered as a married woman. That is why I promised myself that I would not circumcise my daughter under any circumstances. I will not expose her to the physical and mental pain of FGM.
“That’s why, when she reached the age of six and my husband wanted her to be cut, I refused and stood up to him, because of my experience and because it could cause her complications.
“I tried to use experts to mediate, but it didn’t help. He still insisted. So I said to him, let’s take her to the doctor. The doctor said that she doesn’t need circumcision, an opinion that was rejected by my husband.”
Nahla finished her story: “My husband gave me two options: Either to listen to him or to bear the consequences of what he will do to me. He told me that he would circumcise my daughter to make her e a better person as the sharia obligates.
“As a result, our lives were turned upside down. Everything became much harder than it used to be. Every day we argued. I ran away and left the house after years of torture, taking with me my daughter and my son. I filed for divorce, not only because of the circumcision, but because life with a person like him is impossible. He wants a ‘mute’ woman that walks on a straight line that he plans for her, and I’ve have enough of it.”
God bless her courage, and prayers for their continued safety and well-being. Her path is singular and difficult.