INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: February 6, 2013
Today is the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. The practice of female genital mutilation still occurs and is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is associated with a series of short and long-term risks to both physical, mental and sexual health and well-being.
Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types.
- Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
- Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).
- Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
- Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
FGM is affecting about 140 million girls and women, and more than 3 million girls are at risk every year.
Every day, many girls endure the pain of having what they were born with cut away from their bodies.
Some die from the shock of the procedure; some die from excessive bleeding—but many suffer from a lifetime of health and physical destruction.
Girls who have what their Creator gave them cut away from their bodies suffer from urinary incontinence, frequent vaginal infections, painful intercourse, and dangerous childbirth deliveries. Because of the removal of the majora and minor labias, the sewn-up areas heal over, causing difficult intercourse and deliveries, causing the women to be cut again oftentimes by their husbands [who usually are many years older than the girls] in order for sex and childbirth to occur.
Even though to many people it may not show on the outside, surely there must be some psychological trauma for girls after experiencing FGM.
Female genital mutilation is a cruel practice and violates the human rights of girls and women, with the main intent to control the sexual agency and autonomy of women and girls.
If anything, it points towards an unfathomable sexist assault upon and fear of the bodies and femalehood of so many women, young girls, and infant girls.