Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a horrendous problem amongst countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East which I feel deeply concerned about.
According to Global Giving, "a woman or girl is violated by FGM every ten seconds."
This is a ritual practiced whereby the female genitalia is partially or totally removed by a circumciser with a blade. To make matters worse, FGM can take place from as young as birth, through to puberty and prior to marriage from the meager age of 15 years old. These girls and young women are given no choice and are voiceless in this matter which is a complete disregard and abolishment of their freedom and their human rights.
After discussing this disconcerting issue with the Marais family, who dedicate their lives to making a difference to the less fortunate in Africa, I learnt that FGM is considered as a source of honour, purity and maturity of women. It is also carried out to increase pleasure for men when participating in sexual behaviour with women and to prevent girls from inviting themselves to social exclusion.
Although I am open minded and respectful of other cultures and rituals, I do not support FGM for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it is an excruciating and painful procedure which nobody should have to endure. It can cause severe health complications such as fertility issues, fatal bleeding, the development of cysts and a string of deadly infections. According to Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, "The pain inflicted by FGM does not stop with the initial procedure, but often continues as ongoing torture throughout a woman's life." Moreover, according to Unicef, over 200 million women have been victims of FGM.
FGM is immoral, cruel, and unnecessary. And it needs to stop.
How you can help to end FGM:
- Create a petition on Change.org to raise awareness of FGM
- Support the beadwork brand Red Tribe by purchasing their creations. The money earned is directly used to expand their education programmes which can help to prolong the FGM procedure as girls in education often wait till a later age to undergo FGM.
- Share this post on your own social media platforms to get more people involved in combatting FGM.
Thank you for reading my post on this sensitive issue. Please share your thoughts and opinions on FGM and any other issues that you feel strongly about in the comments section below!