Wednesday, February 2, 2011


What is FGM? FGM or "female genital mutilation", also known as female circumcision or "cutting" is a practice that began in Africa over 2000 years ago. It is a painful procedure that is performed on girls before puberty. There are three parts to this procedure;

1.Sunna Circumcision - consists of the removal of the prepuce or the tip of the clitoris.
2.Clitoridectomy - consists of the removal of the entire clitoris (prepuce and glands) and the removal of the adjacent labia.
3.Infibulation(pharonic circumcision)-- consists of performing a clitoridectomy. This is then stitched up allowing a small hole to remain open to allow for urine and menstrual blood to flow through.

These are all usually performed without any anesthesia or pain medicines.

Now, why would someone want to do that to do a child? I don't know about you but that was a tad difficult to read about and think about never mind see it done in my own town, or village. Well FGM has become a cultural practice with many beliefs that it is necessary for a woman to survive in society. For one, woman can never be truly beautiful if she does not go under this mutilation.

Also, FGM countries follow the ideas that this procedure will--
"--reduce a women's desire for sex and in doing so will reduce the chance of sex outside the marriage.
--This is vital to this society as her honor for the family is depended on her not to be opened up prior to marriage.
--Some view the clitoris and the labia as male parts on a female body, thus removal of these parts enhances the femininity of the girl.
--It is also believed that unless a female has undergone this procedure she is unclean and will not be allowed to handle food or water.
--Some groups believe that if the clitoris touches a man's penis the man will die.
--As well as the belief that if a baby's head touches the clitoris that the baby will die or the breast milk will be poisonous.
--The belief that an unmutilated female can not conceive, therefore the female should be militated in order to become fertile.
--Bad genital odors can only be eliminated by removing the clitoris and labia minora.
--Prevents vaginal cancer.
--An unmodified clitoris can lead to masturbation or lesbianism.
--Prevents nervousness from developing in girls and women.
--Prevents the face from turning yellow.
--Makes a women's face more beautiful.
--Older men may not be able to match their wives sex drive.
--Intact clitoris will generate sexual arousal and in women if repressed can cause nervousness." (

I'm sorry but that is ridiculous.

How is FGM performed?

The age varies but usually the child is from 4-8 and due to poverty the procedure isn't done by a medically trained people. The children are held down and as older women as the mid-wife performs the procedure with anything sharp, which could be anything from; broken glass, a tin lid, razor blades, knives, or scissors. These items usually are not sterilized before or after usage.

Once the genital area for removal is gone, the child is stitched up and her legs are bound for up to 40 days. A girl is not a woman until she undergoes the procedure

What?! What about the side effects??!!
FGM can have serious side effects; infections, HIV, small benign tumors hemorrhages, clitoral cysts and even death.

The long term effects may also include kidney stones, sterility, sexual dysfunction, depression, various urinary tract infections, various gynecological and obstetric problems.

"In order to have sexual intercourse the women have to be opened up in some fashion and in some cases cutting is necessary. After child birth some women are re-infibulated to make them (tight) for their husbands." (Puked yet?)

Yes, this is part of their culture but it's killing children! Shouldn't someone step in and do something?!!

Of course this is a humans rights issue!! Amnesty International now has taken up the fight to do away with this practice that mutilates millions of girls each year. In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.This needs to stop!

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1 comment:

  1. Although I am not an advocate of these procedures, especially when it pertains to children who for the most part do not have a say, and often times are held against their will to have this procedure performed. In reality your argument; albeit good has to be revisited...Lets start off by telling people in the Jewish faith that they cannot conduct a "Briss" (sp) never-mind have a party afterwards...Or we can tell Roman Catholics in the Philippines that they can no longer nail a person to the cross around Easter and use Rosary beads to hit themselves across the back until they bleed...the list goes on involving "Cultural traditions" that we may or may not approve of. Years ago I came across 4 young Muslim men stopped on the right shoulder of I-78 in your home state.... it was about 5pm, they were all kneeling and facing east..I tried to talk to them and move them along and they all ignored me....(You know me) I did not take kindly to being ignored and picked one of them up and demanded he speak to me....he look at me and very politely said..."sir, our custom is to pray to the east every day at sunset" I walked away embarrassed....My point you ask? I agree the practice should be done away with, but we (especially you young idealists) do not have the right to interfere in customs and traditions of any sect of people. The semi-good news is that these procedures can be reversed (partially). From what I read, there are several non-profits that are staffing hospitals with qualified people/doctors to perform these corrective procedures free of charge. Maybe you can work in one of these communities during to stint in the Peace Corps…..Good article….