Gendered Violence In Sub-Saharan Africa Essay

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Within the Regional and Comparative Studies major, I plan to study gendered violence in Sub-Saharan Africa – specifically how religious traditions create a culture in which violence against women thrives. In today’s deeply polarized world, it is more important than ever to understand the extremely divisive force that is religion, and how different religious beliefs serve to inform a society’s treatment of women. Several years ago, I read Jimmy Carter’s excellent book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, and was inspired to learn more about the complex intersection between gender and culture. Through my studies, I hope to learn how to efficiently shape activist movements in Africa, balancing the need for human rights reform with a deeply sympathetic understanding of the continent’s history and people. I hope to gain an understanding not just of how religion leads to violence against women, but of how these traditions must inform the most effective ways to create positive, lasting change in …show more content…
One of my countries of focus is Kenya, because it has the highest rate of female circumcision in the world. This practice is widely condemned as a gross violation of human rights, but it is deeply entrenched in the cultural and religious history of the country’s Kikuyu majority. Somalia also engages in FGM – it is estimated that 95% of Somalian girls undergo the process before their eleventh birthdays. This is clearly an endemic, culturally-entrenched issue, one that cannot be solved by interventionist, vaguely imperialist policies which force reforms on unwilling populations in the name of Western ideals. Discovering ways to end this condemnable practice requires working with local governments, religious leaders, and the affected women themselves, guiding them as they come to their own conclusions about appropriate

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