Genital Mutilation: Why does it happen to women?
Female genital mutilation is the removal of any part or whole external parts of the female sexual organ for reasons outside of medicine. This is a mostly traditional procedure conducted by highly esteemed traditional circumcisers in the community. There is a false conception that the procedure is safer when carried out by health care providers, however, the World Health Organisation is strongly against the concept of female genital mutilation, whether conducted ‘safely’ or not.
There is almost a universal stance against female genital mutilation in the international community as it is viewed as intrinsically a human right violation. The procedure is entrenched and continues to perpetuate the inequality that exists between females and males. The procedure is often conducted on children that are not old enough to be giving consent legally, therefore, female genital mutilation does not only infringe on women’s right but on children’s rights as well. According to The World Health Organisation (2016) female genital mutilation violates rights such as “rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death”.
Female genital mutilation is most prevalent in African regions such as the west, the east, the north east, furthermore, other regions that are affected include the Middle East and Asia. It is important to note that the immigrants from these regions carry out female genital mutilation wherever they may be, thus making female genital mutilation a global issue. This issue affects mostly young girls that may even be as young as infants, sometimes women that are adults are affected as well. On average an estimate of 3 million females are at danger of female genital mutilation.
Female genital mutilation is influenced by cultural and social factors such as it being a necessary part of the upbringing of a girl in preparation for marriage. The mutilation is said to be by which marriage fidelity can be preserved because it reduces the women’s libido and she will display appropriate sexual behaviour. It is also believed that after the mutilation girls will be regarded as clean and feminine, therefore increasing marriageability.
Since 1997 there have been international responses to stop female genital mutilation, some of them being laws to ban female genital mutilation. In 2016, The World Health Organization in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Population Fund launched a video based on research and evidence on how to manage the complications caused by female genital mutilation and even developed tools for healthcare workers to improve their knowledge and skills when it comes to genital mutilation.
This increases support in ending female genital because the health care sector is being strengthened in their abilities to provide medical and psychological treatment for girls surviving female genital mutilation.
By Lethica Nair
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