Yesterday was the International Day for Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation. Campaigners use this day to raise awareness in eliminating this disgusting practice. The UN is increasing their efforts to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation but, it …

Samantha Ritchie

Yesterday was the International Day for Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation. Campaigners use this day to raise awareness in eliminating this disgusting practice. The UN is increasing their efforts to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation but, it still affects over 120 million women and girls throughout the world.

Female Genital Mutilation involves cutting or removing external female genitals. “Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is a cultural practice which has been going on for around 2,000 years however; increasingly more and more doctors and nurses are carrying out this ‘operation’. And this is worrying.

FGM is primarily carried out in countries in Africa and the Middle East. This practice is usually carried out on young women or children who are experiencing puberty. It is a violation of human rights of women and girls.

According to the clinical description of FRM there are four main types of the procedure that take place which include:

• Clitoridectomy: 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).

• Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

• Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

• Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

During the ‘procedure’ some women die and also suffer lifelong problems such as complications during pregnancy, HIV/Aids infection, difficulty during sex, increased infant or maternal infant mortality and obstructed labour.UNICEF also highlights that “in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM is concentrated, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49. The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19.” Therefore, there is a decline in some African countries. But, FGM still affects 120 million women and girls worldwide and has a long way to go before it is eradicated.

This year, The 57th Commission of the Status of Women takes place in March. This conference allows NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) from across the world to come together on a world stage and discuss issues which are affecting women. This year the priority theme for the event is ‘Elimination and Prevention of all Forms of Violence Against Women.’ FGM is a form of violence against women and a breach of human rights. In order to get your voice heard you must write to your government and NGO’s who are attending this event. Raising the profile and ensuring this repulsive practice is wiped out is essential for equality for women globally.

Please have a look at this disgusting video about Female Genital Mutilation

 


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Samantha Ritchie