Why Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Should be criminalized

By Debo Popoola

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by WHO, UNICEF as the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Looking at different cultures of the world, there’re various beliefs for practicing genital mutilation. This is always done for girls at a very young age between 0 month  – 15 years depending on the tribe. 7 out of 10 girls are being circumcised when pulling up a data.

This practice is not restricted to a particular religion alone: It occurs amongst Muslims, Christians and Animists alike.

In Egypt, 97% of girls suffer genital mutilation which cuts across every religion being practiced there. However, people who practice such act believe strongly in the cultural value of it or the religious aspect or both. But mostly, it’s religious doctrines that are used in justifying the practice.

Over 200 million women alive today suffer FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). Some believed it would stop any future occurrence of being a sex addict because once it is being truncated, there’s a less desire for sex. And some believe by so doing, you are trying to achieve sexual purity and not having married women with long clitoris.


Female Child being circumcised

But what about the health factor? There’re so many ills attached to it. FGM are usually carried out by the elders – people who cannot guarantee total hygienic process during the process. Then complications may arise from FGM which could cause death. Immediate complications include severe pain, shock, rigor, hemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region, urinary tract infections, fever and so on.

Long term effects include anaemia, the formation of cyst, damage to the urethra resulting in urinary incontinence; pain during sexual Intercourse, sexual dysfunction may also contribute to marital conflicts or divorce.

In Somalia, Northern Sudan and Djibouti, women who experience FGM go through narrowing of the vaginal orifice with a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora and /or the labia majora. This can take place with or without removal of the clitoris. According to a teenager in the middle East, she said that when they attain the first year of teen as it was believed that’s the time they may start having indiscriminate sex. The elderly women who perform this cultural practice go house to house bringing their unwilling selves out. The girls would tie a black wrapper round their chest and file up. So they enter the enclosed place one after the other where the criminal practice is being carried out.

She said after cutting, some would involuntarily run out because of the shock and unbearable pain and some would bleed to death. Anyone who bled to death was believed to eventually become wayward if the ritual wasn’t carried out and the gods took her with them to avert shame on her family. Despite the practice, it hasn’t stopped women from being sexually active in all cultures all over the world.

Practices like that should be criminalized under the law as girls – innocent girls -lose their lives and go through unbearable emotional trauma if they survived. Does FGM curb being sexually addictive? Instead it destroys the female lives and if not careful, turns to depression.

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