Proud to be a Woman: Fighting Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Usually, this practice is held in Africa for religious beliefs. However, 18 % of professional health care providers perform this practice, and this trend keeps on increasing. FGM is internationally seen as a violation to human rights. Yet, 100 million girl each year undergo Female Genital Mutilation in Africa.

This practice has no health benefits to women. It actually, damages healthy female organs, and interferes with natural courses in girls’ and women’s bodies. Some instant complications include severe pain, haemorrhage ( heavy bleeding),shock, tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), open sores in the genital, and injury to healthy tissues. Most girls die just a few days after the procedure takes place. Those who survive, suffer from long-term complications such as recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections,cysts, infertility,an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

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Others have to undergo life-threatening surgeries to eliminate these complications. While others cannot afford it.

FGM is mostly practice in Muslim countries in the west, Christian Copts in Egypt and Sudan, Beta Israel in Ethiopia and various animist groups. FGM is often motivated beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital loyalty. It is believed that this practice, lowers a woman’s libido, and helps her to resist illicit sexual behaviours. However, research consultant Ellen Gruenbaum stated that FGM “is not mandated by religious scriptures”. Yet, millions of religious girls suffer form this torture.

Female Genital Mutilation is internationally seen as a violation to human rights of girls and women. This practice renacts profound inequality between the two sexes. It deduces deep-rooted discrimination towards women and young girls. Since it is usually carried out on minors, it is also seen as a violation to children rights. Minors are not aware of what they are put through. This practice also violates a human’s rights to security, health and physical integrity. Women in Africa should be free from torture and cruelty used to dehumanise or degrade their bodies . Not to mention the right of life, for the procedure results in death.

In December 2012, the UN General Assembly accepted a resolution about the elimination of FGM. However, 60,000 girls are mutilated everyday in Africa. Even health professionals practice this unhealthy procedure on women. It is an unhealthy procedure that humiliates women. Even though many view it as a religious ritual, it is not demanded by any religious scripts. How will our society continue to develop, if we allow our women to be tortured to death, and discriminated, for non-valid reasons?

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