Female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision, is a ritual that involves cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in some countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this procedure has no health benefit and can cause infections, bleeding, urinary problem and even complications during childbirth. Most importantly, WHO also emphasized that it “is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.” Understanding this, I wonder why it is still practiced in some parts of the world? How did this come into existence?
From my research, some tradition believes it is a way to control women’s or girls’ sexuality, and in some other cultures, it’s a prerequisite for marriage. Even more, this practice is based on beliefs associated with some traditional myths about female genitalia. Yesterday, I read a funny one; in some parts of the world where this is practiced, it is believed that the uncut clitoris can grow into the size of a penis, hence why it has to be removed. Do people believe this? Even more, some cultures view the external female genitalia as dirty and ugly. Sad!
Now, regardless of what the reason is, this is wrong. This shouldn’t be part of any tradition, culture or society. Just like the World Health Organization has expressed, this violates female human rights. It also deprives them of the opportunity to make critical and informed decisions about their bodies and lives. WHO also confirmed that more than 200 million girls and women alive today had been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where female genital mutilation is concentrated. This is real!
Another sad part of this is, within some cultures, some families may find it difficult to refuse to have their daughters cut. Those who reject the practise may face condemnation or ostracism, and their daughters may be deemed ineligible for marriage.
I honestly do not know why this exists; it could be ignorance, lack of education on the effect of this practice; I don’t know. However, one thing I know for sure is, this isn’t right, and it has to stop. We need to think about females who have to go through this. A lot of them suffer the consequences of this silly practice when they are older, or when they get into relationships and even when they get married. They might also suffer trauma from this practice or experience. The simple fact of this is, a lot of women are losing themselves and their sexuality to this, and this is not right in any way.
I know that United Nations agencies and the World Health Organization have been trying to raise awareness on this. Nonetheless, everyone who has a good knowledge of the harmful effects of this practice should help raise awareness of it too. We need to come together to put an end to this dangerous practice. We can’t continue to watch women lose their selves to this. It’s not fair.
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