1996 Photo Contest, People in the News, 2nd prize

Stephanie Welsh

Newhouse News Service

01 January, 1995

In Africa, female circumcision is widespread. In some areas the practice is virtually universal, in others (such as Egypt and Kenya) it affects about half of all girls. In Senegal and Tanzania 10 to 15 percent of girls are circumcised. Of the four different types of operation, total infibulation - where only a tiny vaginal opening remains - is the most severe. Despite the pain and anguish caused by this genital mutilation few women are opposed to it, because it lends them a higher status in their communities and is a prerequisite for marriage and childbearing. It is estimated that two million girls annually have their genitals wholly or partly removed. This is the story of Seita Lengila (16).

About the photographer

Stephanie Welsh

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