Liberian journalist Mae Azango has received global praise for her critique on female genital mutilation (FGM). But while advocates agree that FGM is a violation of human rights and an act of violence against women, Azango faces death threats from people in her home country, where 10 of the 16 tribes practice FGM.
Azango fears for her life as well as for her daughters and others close to her. She receives threats because of her status as a Liberian woman, an insider, and a credible source.
Azango explained that Liberian women don’t have a public voice in rural areas, and she considers herself a “voice to the voiceless.” Azango stated, “The women are so ashamed of what is happening to them, and they won't dare to speak out. Sadly, for these women the damage has been done but today I am talking for the future generations."
Azango’s publication on FGM helped lead Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state to announce an indefinite suspension of FGM, but many fear this announcement will simply move the traditional practice underground.
Compiled from: Hajer Naili, Liberian Journalist Threatened for FGM Coverage, Women’s E-news (27 December 2012).