What is female genital mutilation?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects at least 200 million women globally, that is an equivalence of the population of the UK and France. FGM is the cutting and removal of parts of the female genitalia. When a girl goes under FGM, the procedure has no health benefits and it can cause serious health complications that can even lead to death. FGM was banned in Senegal in 1999, but despite the ban it still takes place. It causes extreme pain and has severe health consequences. Girls are cut in unsanitary conditions, with unsterilized equipment, and without anesthesia. Girls and women who underwent FGM can experience severe menstrual pain and infections. Also, it causes intense pain during intercourse and can lead to complications during childbirth, which could endanger the lives of both mother and the child. The side effects associated with FGM can stay with a woman throughout her life.
Guide for Female Genital Mutilation(FGM)
8 Facts about FGM
- Most of the girls undergo this treacherous procedure between infancy and 15 years of age, the average age being 6-7 years.
- This practice is most common in Africa and Middle East. Almost 29 countries follow this ritual and out of these, 27 are located in Africa and 3 in the Middle East.
- FGM is being done medically too. Around nineteen percent of female genital mutilation is being performed in hospitals by doctors. It does reduces the health issues, but it increases the risk of FGM being viewed as a medical necessity.
- In the countries where FGM is performed, almost every woman believe that it should end. There are many mothers who hate it when their daughters are cut, but due the societal and cultural pressure, they are forced to let their daughters undergo this risky ritual.
- The population of women who undergo FGM is so large that it cannot be represented in the exact numbers. Around 100 million to 150 million women and girls today have being subjected to female genital mutilation.
- The United Nations campaigns are against the practice of FGM and they believe that it is a violation of basic human rights.
- Mothers who have their daughters undergo FGM believe their children would become social outcasts, if they did not.
- This petrifying procedure is done, because women are seen to be more hygienic and less sexually active. The mutilation decreases a woman’s sexual desire and sexual enjoyment, in order to preserve their virginity.
Causes of FGM
There is only one cause, as to why FGM is performed, and that is to subdue women and to make sure that these ladies are faithful. When a girl or a woman has her genitals mutilated, then they don’t feel like running around. And it is a crazy thinking that this way women will be more loyal and staunch, it is like cutting the tendon off of a slave’s leg so that he is not going to run away. This is not how human beings are free and women are free.
Mutilation causes excessive pain and lowers the sexual desire in women, hence it is also thought of as a way to protect their virginity.
Types of FGM
FGM can be classified into four types, and they are:
Clitoridectomy: in this, the clitoris, which is the top portion of the private part, is removed completely or half. The clitoris is extremely sensitive and erectile.
Excision: in this clitoris, as well as the inner lips that surround the vagina, which is also known as labia minora, are cut off and removed.
Infibulation: in this, the clitoris, the inner lips, and the big lips are all removed. Once everything is removed, the edges are stitched together leaving a tiny opening for the passage of menstrual flow as well as urine. This opening can be so small that it needs to be cut open during sexual intercourse, also it causes extreme complications at the time of birth, for both mother and the baby.
Unclassified: this type includes all other things like pricking the clitoris, introduction of any corrosive material to the vulva area, tattooing, piercing, cutting into the flesh or the rugae or floor of the vagina.
Risks of Female Genital Mutilation
There are numerous risks and complications that a girl or a woman can suffer after her genitals are mutilated, and some of them are:
Hemorrhage: when the clitoris is removed either with scissors or a razor blade, the child or young woman will bleed. Excessive bleeding can also cause sudden death in the case of cataclysmic hemorrhage.
Shock: due to excessive bleeding and pain in the procedure, the girl can suffer from shock and trauma which can be very fatal.
Pain: most of the mutilations are performed without anesthetics that cause numerous amount of pain to the girl. Also, if anesthesia is given, multiple needle insertions can be extremely hurting.
Infection: various infections like urine infection can develop due to the use of unsterilized instruments and unhygienic conditions. In many places, traditional herbs, or ashes are used to cure the wound that worsens the condition and the cut.
Failure to heal: Wounds may fail to heal quickly because of infection, irritation from urine, underlying anemia or malnutrition.
Difficulties with micturition: due to damage of urethral or urinary opening, problems during urine flow can occur. Many girls take around 15-20 minutes for passing the urine, which can be very painful.
Neurinoma: Neurinoma can develop when the dorsal nerve of the clitoris is cut or trapped in a stitch or in scar tissue. The surrounding area becomes hypersensitive and unbearably painful.
Infertility: Infertility can occur due to chronic pelvic infections causing irreparable damage to the reproductive organs.
Difficulties with menstruation: the closing of the vaginal opening can cause haematocolpos, which occasionally occurs from the retention of menstrual blood due to the almost complete coalescence of the labia.
Sexual complications: Many women who have undergone FGM experience various forms and degrees of sexual aberrations. These may include fear associated with initial sexual intercourse, pain associated with sexual intercourse, difficulty or inability to have sexual intercourse, vaginismus, and decreased sexual pleasure and fulfillment Also, there can be complications during the birth of the child.