The dumbing down of the genitals of girls and women will in future be punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment. The federal cabinet approved a draft law on the subject, which had already been reported by the dortmund newspaper "ruhr nachrichten".
Until now, such an act was usually punished as serious bodily injury with a prison sentence of six months to ten years. In the future, there will be a separate criminal offense with a prison sentence of between one and 15 years.
Female genital mutilation is "a serious interference with physical integrity," according to the cabinet bill submitted by justice minister sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger (FDP). The reform is to be passed by the bundestag before the election. Time is short, however: there are only three weeks of parliamentary sessions left before the summer break.
The traditional way is practiced in about 30 countries worldwide, mainly in muslim countries in the north of africa. However, some traps are also documented among immigrant families in europe. In germany alone, there are said to be about 30,000 women and girls who have already been muted or who are threatened with a similar fate.
Female genital mutilation, considered an important initiation ritual in some cultures, involves partial or total removal of the clitoris. In particularly serious cases even the vagina is sewn up and only a small opening is left. Many of those affected suffer from pain for the rest of their lives, but also from the psychological consequences.
In addition, there is a risk of life-threatening infections and bleeding because the operations are often performed under unhygienic conditions. In addition, the circumcisions are not infrequently carried out with blunt razor blades, glass shards or pieces of tin cans. According to estimates, around 140 million girls and women worldwide have already been the victims of genital mutilation.
The women’s union (FU) hopes that the tightening of the law will have a deterrent effect. Girls at risk could be better protected, said FU chairwoman maria bohmer (CDU). The women’s rights organization terre des femmes voiced a similar opinion, but did not consider the draft law to be sufficient. "We are calling for genital mutilation to be included in the catalog of foreign offenses," said franziska gruber, the speaker in charge of the matter. Otherwise, many circumcisions abroad could not be punished – even if the victims reside in germany.