Photo: The Guardian
FGM is recognized internationally as a 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. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
When I read the article in The Daily Mail on Female genital mutilation, I was incensed. I couldn’t believe the reasons behind this barbaric practice.
- In some cultures, it is seen as a right of passage into womanhood and a condition of marriage.
- Some believe that the genitals will be unclean if the female does not have the procedure.
- There is also a common belief that women need to have FGM to have babies.
- Religous reasons
Egypt has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the world and even thought the practice was criminalized in 2008, it still remains widespread. Up to 92 percent of married women have undergone FGM and most females have the procedure between the ages of nine and 12. Some have it done earlier than nine years old. Can you imagine a five year old girl having part or all of her external genitalia removed? There are no anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments used and FGM is performed with knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. This can lead to severe bleeding and infections which can last a woman her entire lifetime. And it is estimated that 3 million girls are subjected to this barbarism every year in the UK, parts of Africa, Middle East and Asia. And believe it or not, the procedure is usually done by a woman with no medical background.
Girls are going to grow up believing that their genitals are unclean and only a cruel cut can make them clean and fit for marriage. What about the infections that they get or what about those who die from the procedure like the 13 year old Sohair el-Batea? The doctor responsible for her death was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to more than two years in jail. This was a victory for women but more needs to be done. FGM is still being practiced.
According to Egyptian Streets, statistics showed that 30% of married women believe that FGM should be banned but more than half were in favor of the procedure for religious reasons. It’s hard to accept that women would be in favor of such a practice. It is even harder to accept that they would force their daughters, granddaughters, nieces to go through what they themselves had gone through. As a mother, I could never subject my daughter to this. As a woman, I could never bring myself to do this horrible thing to another female.
And which religion would condone this? God created the human body and He put everything in its place for a reason. No one has the right to tamper with nature. How could anyone use religion as an excuse to mutilate young girls and in some cases, babies? And as far as FGM being necessary in order to have babies, that is ludicrious. The reality is that FGM can cause infertility and increase the risk of complications in childbirth.
FGM, known as the “cruel cut” needs to be banned the regions of Africa and countries where it is still common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that more than three million girls in Africa are at risk. Something needs to be done to stop girls and babies from is done in ignorance and in the name of tradition. Girls should not see the parts of their bodies that is unique to their gender as unclean. No where in the Bible is female circumcision practiced. God never intended for girls and women to be circumcised. It is a man-made procedure and it needs to be outlawed.
I encourage you to watch the video of Leyla Hussein, the founder of Daughters of Eve as she talks to her mother about FGM. You can visit Leyla’s website to find out more information about FGM and see what you can do to stop this cruel and inhumane practice.