“Mommy, don’t cut me” Female Genital Mutilation – not only an African Issue

”8000 girls per day are robbed of their genitalia and their dignity. That is one every eleven seconds. 150 million women in 28 countries are affected, regardless to their religious affiliation”

Would you believe that girls here in the western world get circumcised? No? Read further and you will feel something you haven’t felt before…

What is FGM?
An uncircumcised woman is seen as unclean

Female Genital Mutilation is the process of removing the clitoris and the inner and outer labia. What’s left is a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. Typically, it is performed on girls from a few days old to puberty, but sometimes even in adulthood. The orchid project says it’s performed in the most unimaginable way: without anesthesia and without sterile equipment. The circumciser uses a knife, on the countryside even a razor.

According to World Health Organization it is practiced mostly in Africa, Middle East, South Asia but also within many immigrant communities in Europe, North America and Australia . It’s astonishing to me that in Egypt there is such a high percentage of FGM victims. If we believe the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNIFC), there are 91% of all women in Egypt that are circumcised.

The three feminine sorrows

According to Dr. Jean Fourcroy, the three femine sorrows are the day of mutilation or circumcision, the wedding night when the opening must be cut and the birth of the baby when the opening must be enlarged. Usually, woman here in Europe, consider two of these events the most beautiful events in life. Millions of women have to suffer their whole lives because of this crime.

Why?

Female genital mutilation does not have a religious tradition. Neither the Koran nor any other Holy Scripture prescribes it. It is primarily an old barbaric custom that is carried out to reduce women’s libido – a physical marking of marriageability, the insurance of virginity, and the formation of a chastity belt of a woman. I like to call it men’s tool of power to express their superiority and to put women under their tutelage.

Movie Scene from “Desert Flower”

Can we eliminate the practice?

According to WHO Female Genital Mutilation has declined – however slower than expected.
Nonetheless, it stays a Human Rights violation and indicates a lack of informed consent.
This practice includes many health risks such as fatal hemorrhaging, cysts, recurrent urinary, vaginal infections, chronic pain and complications giving birth.

Since 1979 there have been efforts to end this practice. Only in March 2012, Ireland introduced a law against FGM. Estimations suggest that 3000 women in Ireland suffer from FGM.
Dr. Sylvia Tamale is a Ugandan human rights defender and activist for women’s movement in Uganda and stands up for equal rights in Africa and the advancement of women’s rights. Nevertheless, she states that it is complicated to fight FGM since women are discharged and it is still a taboo topic in society.

Social pressure will continue the tradition

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