Friday, 25 January 2013

Female Genital Mutilation:Curse of all Curses

FGM refers to all procedures which partially or completely remove the external female genitalia. FGM also includes any other injury to a woman's or girl's genitalia for reasons other than medical ones. In most parts of the world, FGM is done by non-medical practitioners who also attend childbirths and carry out male circumcisions.

The World Health Organization informs that there are four main types of female genital mutilations:

  • FGM may involve cutting out all or part of the clitoris, the labia majora and/or minora, and stitching the labia together so as to narrow the opening
  • Clitoridectomy - the clitoris is partially or completely removed. The clitoris is the most sensitive erogenous zone of the human female, and the main cause of her sexual pleasure. It is a small erectile part of the female genitalia. Upon being stimulated, the clitoris produces sexual excitement, clitoral erection, and orgasm.
  • Excision - the clitoris and labia minora are partially or completely removed. It may also include the removal of the labia majora. "Labia" refers to the lips that surround the vagina.
  • Infibulation - the vaginal opening is narrowed; a covering seal is created. The inner or outer labia are cut and repositioned. This procedure may include (or not) the removal of the clitoris


Virtually every country in the world agrees that female genital mutilation is a violation of a female's human rights. It is seen as an extreme form of discriminating against females in the community. As most procedures are carried out on young girls, it is also a violation against children's rights.

Why does female genital mutilation occur?

FGM could be due to several factors, and often a combination of them, including those of a religious, social and cultural nature.

  • Social convention - "it is what others do, and what we have always done.." Social pressure and a desire not to stand out as a rebel is a powerful force, especially in societies with low literacy rates.
  • Proper thing to do - in some societies, FGM is part of proper female upbringing. It is said to prepare her for marriage and adult life.
  • Decent sexual behavior - in some cultures, FGM is linked to virginity and being faithful during marriage. If a woman's libido is reduced (by cutting the clitoris), it is believed that her chances of taking part in "illicit" sex is much smaller. Narrowing the vaginal opening is thought to keep females from taking any sexual risks, for fear of pain or widening the opening, being found out and getting into trouble for it.
  • Femininity and modesty - some societies believe that FGM makes girls cleaner and more beautiful. Some body parts, such as the clitoris (which sticks out) are seen as male or unclean.
  • Religions - even though not written in any of the major religions, practitioners are either convinced, or have convinced their communities that the practice is a religious one and should be carried out for that reason. It must be pointed out that many religious leaders are against FGM, and are involved in the movement to eradicate its practice.
  • Power and authority - in some cases, local chiefs, religious leaders, practitioners of FGM and circumcision, and even some health care professionals all agree that it is a practice that must prevail.
  • A new practice - in some cases, some communities have adopted the practice of FGM because they picked it up from neighboring communities. In some cases, it is the revival of an old custom.
  • Immigrants - sometimes, people who come from communities that don't practice FGM, and come to live in societies that do, adopt the practice to fit in.
  • In some cultures, it is believed that a man would die if his penis touched a woman's clitoris. Some say that if a baby's head comes into contact with the clitoris, he/she could die. In some communities, women who have not undergone FGM are not allowed to handle food and water because of the perceived health risks for others.
The Reasons given by all cultures for FGM are nothing but a way of suppressing women both physically and mentally. Nothing is ever the same for FGM victims. It’s time MEN in cultures that practice FGM also join in eradicating this evil practice.


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