Kanem regretted that these practices were generally not performed out of malice. Rather, they were seen as being in the best interest of the family, or in the best interest of the girl herself.
According to her, child marriage may be intended to secure a girl’s future by making her husband’s family responsible for her care. It may be seen as a way to protect her from sexual violence, or as a way to safeguard her reputation if she becomes pregnant.
She said that many of the harmful practices were as a result of ignorance on the part of the parents who misplaced harm with good intentions
“FGM is often performed to ensure that a girl is accepted by her future spouse or by the broader community.
“And families may choose to have boys over girls in communities where sons alone are tasked with caring for their ageing parents or carrying on the family name.”
She said such supposed good intentions meant little to the girl who was forced to abandon school and her friends to be forcibly married, and face a lifetime of health problems because of mutilation from a harmful rite of passage.
She emphasised that “everyday, hundreds of thousands of girls around the world are harmed physically or psychologically with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities. And without urgent action, the situation is likely to worsen.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SWOP Report 2020 — Against My Will, Defying the Practices that Harm Women And Girls And Undermine Equality — emphasised that “the female is not a commodity to be traded, she is not an object of desire and not a burden to discard.”