‘‘Slaughter me with scythes. For you believe in the old myths. Decimate my organs. And then take away my right of living.’’- A victim of genital mutilation Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or Female Circumcision or Female Genital Cutting; one meaning, many words. Isn’t it strange how obliteration can take up different words and yet fails to define it? Well a lot of people fail to comprehend the meaning of Female Genital Mutilation-all such procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. But still Genital Cutting or Circumcision seems to be away from the brain surveillance. Is it a taboo? Or is it a grim subject of matter? Whatsoever it maybe, my utter stupefaction reaches no bounds when I see horrifying statistics and the associated myths which gives me a bolt from the blue. Now stressing over the not “so stressed matter ’’ of FGM; taking deeper insight into its facts and myths- 1) Worldwide, roughly around 140 million girls and women are bearing the consequences of FGM. It is most common in Africa as well as in Asia and Middle East. In Africa alone, 101 million girls have suffered due to FGM. It’s a pressing issue in Australia, Canada, France and US as immigrants continue to practice such procedures. 2) FGM doesn’t have any health benefits instead it causes damage to a female body in many ways. A female body undergoes extreme pain, infertility, hemorrhage, sexual dysfunction, cysts, bladder and urinary infections, psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress. 3) The procedure of FGM is being traditionally carried out by women with no medical training and using basic tools such as knives, scissors, razor blades and even glass pieces. 4) FGM is often being motivated by old beliefs. It is considered as a myth that FGM helps in reducing a women’s ‘illicit sexual intercourse’. It is also believed that a girl becomes ‘clean and beautiful’ after removal of body parts which otherwise makes her ‘unclean’. 5) FGM procedures are being carried out on young girls between infancy to 15 years of age and occasionally on adult women. 6) FGM is a violation of the basic human right of girls and women whereby it puts a person’s health, security and integrity in jeopardy. It constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. 7) Its procedures include; a) Clitridectomy- Partial or total removal of clitoris. b) Excision- Partial or total removal of clitoris and the labia(lips that surround vagina) c) In0fibulations- Narrowing the vaginal opening d) Others- Harmful procedures on female genital areas like scraping, piercing, pricking etc. 8) Some countries like UK, Somalia and Liberia have placed legislation to make FGM illegal but still there are countries where it is being practiced such as Sierra Leone. 9) The UN general has adopted a resolution on the elimination of FGM. Even WHO along with 9 other UN partner nations have issued statements to eliminate FGM. 10) As FGM is usually performed on girls without their permission and will which in turn contravenes several international treaties including Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Convention on the Rights of Child and The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children. Now after mentioning all the relevant details about Female Genital Mutilation, I want to specially appreciate an organization which is working on this issue, DAUGHTER’S EVE. DAUGHTER’S EVE is a nonprofit organization which works with the vision to support, empower and advocate young people from FGM practicing and become their voice. They offer guidance and advice on all the issues related to FGM like medical and reversal options, childbirth issues and minimizing the risk of FGM.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Vanshika, our Intern. Vanshika is pursuing her graduation in economics from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Delhi University. She is a feminist at heart who wants to make a difference in the way this world perceives women. An avid writer who also does theatre, she really wants to reach to the masses and stand up for what she believes in- WOMEN EMPOWERMENT.