Surrounded by three women wearing red, green and yellow, a young girl lies on her back with her legs open in a small hut in Chad, Africa. She’s about to undergo female genital mutilation.
In a video released by a United Nations agency, you can see one women with a sharp razor in hand, ready to cut off the young girl’s labia and then stitch it together for no medical reason.
Luckily, however, the mutilation isn’t going to happen. Instead, the whole scene described is part of a powerful mannequin challenge, the viral video trend where people remain frozen in action.
UNICEF, a United Nations agency focused on humanitarian assistance for children, shared the video to raise awareness on the “harmful tradition” of female genital mutilation, which affects 200 million women and girls around the world.
The video filmed in Chad, pans through people in a village engaged in various activities before it ends with sobering twist, zooming in on the hut where the mutilation is taking place.
Many shared the video on Twitter saying the agency’s twist on the mannequin challenge was powerful.
A UN report on female genital mutilation this year listed 30 countries where cutting is practised, almost all in Africa and some in Asia.
Female genital mutilation can cause a host of health problems, the report says. In some cases girls may bleed to death or die from infections. Others may suffer fatal childbirth complications later in life.
“Female genital mutilation is a fundamental violation of the rights of girls and is typically upheld by a deeply entrenched social norm, especially in areas where it is widespread. It is a manifestation of gender discrimination,” the UNICEF website reads.
— With files from Thomson Reuters.