International student to discuss trauma of female genital mutilation in Kenya

On Thursday, May 9, Anthony Mutuku will present “Female Genital Mutilation: An Outdated Practice” for UW-Eau Claire – Barron County's "Thursdays at the U" lecture and performance series. The presentation, the final event for this year’s series, will be from noon-1 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus, 1800 College Drive.

According to Mutuku, a Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College student from Kenya, 37 of the 42 tribal communities in Kenya still practice female genital mutilation (FGM). The procedure is reported to be traumatic and sometimes life-threatening, but if it is not performed, girls are considered impure.

Despite a legislative ban on the practice in 2011, more than 500 girls in Narok County (only one of 47 counties in Kenya) drop out of school every year because of FGM and early marriage. Circumcision is believed to ensure that young girls will not stray from their older, polygamous husbands, that their sexual urge has been reduced and their "bad" blood "purified."

Mutuku served in the military with the Kenyan Defense Forces for 27 years, including service with the United Nations on various missions into the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Upon retirement from the military, he was involved with Kenyan community projects, including a nongovernmental organization promoting awareness and education about the dangers of FGM.

Mutuku moved to the U.S. in January 2018 in pursuit of more knowledge and another way to give back to his community. He chose to study nursing with the intent of helping fellow Kenyan Defense Forces veterans and FGM survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Mukutu currently is a pre-nursing student aspiring to major in mental health nursing.

For more information about "Thursdays at the U," contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at linda.tollefsrud@uwc.edu or 715-788-6216.

Photo caption: Anthony Mutuku is studying nursing with the intent of helping fellow Kenyan Defense Forces veterans and FGM survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.