There was an outrage recently in the UK. A one-month-old baby girl in Yorkshire was the victim of female genital mutilation (FGM). When it was reported, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme was told that the practice is increasingly being performed on babies and infants in the UK. And in response to a Freedom of Information request, West Yorkshire Police said it had received 17 reports of FGM between 2015 and 2017.
17 in 3 years is approximately 5.2 every year. And there is outrage that it is increasing?!
There should be an outrage. I am elated that there is. It is important to continue to re-echo that people should leave the vagina alone. But did you know that Egypt has one of the highest numbers of FGM in the world with a shocking 87% of all woman having experienced this harmful practice?
Female genital mutilation is a common practice in certain regions of Africa and Asia. The sole reason is to cage women’s sexuality. It is a needless and painful alteration of the female genitalia. It procedures intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is as much the same as foot-binding, breast ironing and corsetry are part of a continuum of female body and sexuality control.
Sadly these practices like female genital mutilation are carried out by women for the sole benefit of men. They are often carried out by educated people who believe that the family’s pride is resident in the woman’s vagina and if she is not “contained” she will disgrace the family name.
There is no gainsaying that it is a violent violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Men are free to have sexual urges and desires but not women.
FGM is nearly always carried out on minors hence, it is a violation of the rights of children.
The practice also goes ahead to violate a person’s rights to health – since this act is carried out by traditional circumcisers, most of the equipment are not sterilized. And perhaps that is one of the worst part of FGM. People who have no business with knifes suddenly have access to both a knife and a vagina – to do as they please.
This is violation to a person’s right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
From a very young age, women are thought that the vagina is bad or wrong or dirty. Much of this socialization happens through how women should view sex, basic hygiene, moral expectations and how they are groomed to be married. FGM exist primarily to tame women for men.
There are several forms of female genital mutilation.
Type I is clitoridectomy – This is the partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals), and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
Type II – Often referred to as excision, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).
Type I and II are the most common forms of female genital mutilation. These procedures are supposedly used to ensure virginity until marriage but primarily to take away all sexual desires and any sexual gratification including masturbation.
Type III is called infibulation with excision – During this procedure the vagina is surgically closed leaving only a small opening for urination and menstruation. This is considered the most brutal of the three primary forms of female genital mutilation. The purpose is to ensure virginity until marriage. Older female relatives, midwives or tribal leaders normally perform these acts of mutilation; however for the Type III procedure trained medical professionals usually complete this task.
Report by Etim