The world seems to advance in science, technology and innovations but seems to lack an open mind when it comes to women, their norms, cultural beliefs and activities. We boast of clicking pictures of Mars, inventing robots to do household work and much more. Are we giving the same importance to women empowerment and liberty? We do have women in higher official positions and the status of the female sex has definitely improved, but has it improved in the right way giving women their needful independence? Definitely not!
People around the world still hold the affected women accountable for sexual assaults against them and even support female genital mutation due to cultural beliefs. What is this female genital mutilation and how does it affect a woman in her lifetime?
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves all procedures that include partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or imposing some injury to the genital organ for non-medical reasons. This is either performed by a traditional circumciser who plays a critical role in community affairs and childbirth or by a health care professional who ignorantly believes that performing the procedure is advantageous and safer when done medically.
FGM is a form of discrimination against women and openly portrays the inequality existing between the sexes. Mostly performed on minors, it is inhuman, cruel and grabs the girl’s/woman’s right to life when the procedure results in death. FGM is of 4 categories:
Clitoridectomy (Type 1): This includes partial or complete removal of clitoris (small and sensitive part of the female genitals) and very rarely, the prepuce (skin fold surrounding the clitoris).
Excision (Type 2): Partial or total removal of clitoris and labia minora (inner folds of vulva) which might/might not include the excision of the labia majora (outer folds of vulva skin).
Infibulation (Type 3): The vaginal opening is restricted by cutting and repositioning the labia minora/majora by stitching. The clitoris can be removed or left intact.
Type 4: The female genitals are subjected to piercing, incision, scraping, pricking and cauterizing for all non-medical reasons.
Consequences of FGM
There are no advantages as believed by people living in different communities across the world but the procedure results in numerous disadvantages for the girl/woman involved. It not only damages the healthy female genital tissues but also disrupts natural functions of the girls’ body. Greater the procedural complications, higher is the risk. Issues that can rise immediately after the FGM procedure include:
FMG is generally performed on minors mostly between infancy and adolescence, and sometimes on adult women too. Almost 200 million girls and women living in 30 countries including Africa, Middle East and Asia have their genitals mutilated.
FMG is practiced mostly due to various unscientific beliefs. Some communities perform it as they believe that being cut increases chances of marriage, prevents extra-marital affairs and protects premarital virginity. FGM is also associated with modesty, femininity, a way of preparing the girl for adulthood and a part of the cultural tradition. Religious leaders contribute towards this practice in several ways-some leaders support it, some protest it while others consider it to be irrelevant to the religion.
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