Female Genital Mutilation: Zero Tolerance Today and Everyday

Over 140 million young girls and women have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation. Female Genital Mutilation is done for the belief that the severing of the clitoris provides purification that will secure a women’s worthiness for marriage. Girls as young as 4 have been brutally mutilated, humiliated, and tortured by these purification beliefs . Female Genital Mutilation is a painful and unnecessary practice that leaves a women with physical, mental and emotional trauma for the rest of her life.

Traditionally, unsanitary tool like rocks, razor blades and knives are used while forcibly holding victims down to perform the procedure. This is an inhumane and brutal practice that carries no health benefits for a woman and there is no religious justification for such an act. Contrary to many beliefs in societies that perform such procedures  to increase a woman’s value, female genital mutilation causes women to experience chronic pain, chronic pelvic infections, development of cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers, excessive scar tissue formation, infection of the reproductive system, decreased sexual enjoyment and psychological consequences, such as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to WHO 1 to 2 babies per 100 deliveries die as a result of female genital mutilation.

The ideology behind female genital mutilation is to give a man more pleasure during sex and to safeguard the woman from needs of sexual pleasure and concerns she may become an adulteress. It is a mechanism designed by societies to paint a picture of a desirable purification process but the reality is that it is a means of controlling the independence of that woman. Female genital mutilation steals a woman’s freedom and grants her a life of physical pain causing shame for being a women.

Unmutilated women in these societies do not have a high social status and in tribes that practice female genital mutilation they are forbidden from marrying. The pressure to mutilate a young girl or women can mount very heavily on the family forcing them to give into the practice based on economic needs and social status desirability. Women and families who refuse this procedure are look down upon by these societies and are often shunned.

Approximately 3.3 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation worldwide each year. An estimated 18% of female genital mutilation procedures are done by healthcare providers for a process that provides no medical benefits whatsoever. Egypt set a precedence in convicting  Raslan Fadl in early 2015 for manslaughter in the killing of Suhair al-Bataa a 13 year old girl from a female genital mutilation procedure, he sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison and his clinic ordered to close for 1 years. Although banned in Egypt, it has one of the highest female genital mutilation rates in the world with many doctors and untrained practitioners performing female genital mutilation as back alley procedures.

Human rights education for children and their families is crucial for for ending mutilation practices. The ideology of mixing this practice with religion must be by all religious leaders  denounced to protect the rights of children and women. Female genital mutilation is a torturous, inhumane and cruel practice that can lead to death. Everyone, men, women and children have the right to life and the right to their dignity, female genital mutilation is a humiliating degrading practice that no one should ever tolerate today or any other day.

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