This term we have recently been frightened with, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is primarily practiced in 28 countries on the continent of Africa, but also practiced in so-called 'sophisticated', 'rich' countries such as the United States, New Zealand, Europe, Australia and Canada.
Our informational blog seeks to promote awareness of this horrific form of abuse towards females including babies, children and women.
Female Genital Mutilation is a collective name to describe procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-medical reasons. FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women; and it is a grave threat to their health.
The World Health Organization has divided Female Genital Mutilation into four types:
The age at which girls undergo FGM varies enormously according to the ethnic group practising it. The procedure may be carried out when the girl is a newborn, during childhood, adolescence, at the time of marriage or during the first pregnancy.
Consequences Of FGM:
The consequence of FGM depends on the type of operation performed (infibulation clearly has more serious consequences), the ability and experience of the one performing the operation, the hygienic conditions under which it is performed, and the girl's health at the time of the operation.
Consequences To Overall Health
Sexual And Psychological Problems
Studies on the psycho-sexual effects of the practice are few. The literature however points to the following complications:
Origins Of FGM
The origins of the practice are unclear. It predates the rise of Christianity and Islam. There is mention made of Egyptian mummies that display characteristics of FGM/FGC. Historians such as Herodotus claim that in the fifth century BC the Phoenicians, the Hittites and the Ethiopians practised circumcision. It is also reported that circumcision rites were practised in tropical zones of Africa, in the Philippines, by certain tribes in the Upper Amazon, and in Australia by women of the Arunta tribe. It also occurred among the early Romans and Arabs. As recent as the 1950s, clitoridectomy was practised in Western Europe and the United States to treat 'ailments' in women as diverse as hysteria, epilepsy, mental disorders, masturbation, nymphomania, melancholia and lesbianism. In other words, the practice of FGM/FGC has been followed by many different peoples and societies across the ages and the continents.
Excuses Given for Female Genital Mutilation
The given reasons for the practice of FGM (primarily in the 28 African countries, and a few countries in the Middle East and Asia) is the set of beliefs, values, cultural and social behaviour patterns that govern the lives of people in society. The various reasons can be categorized into five headings as follows:
FGM/FGC is carried out as a means to control women's sexuality (which is argued to be insatiable if parts of the genitalia, especially the clitoris, are not removed). It is thought to ensure virginity before and fidelity after marriage and/or to increase male sexual pleasure.
Sociological And Cultural Excuses
FGM/FGC is seen as part of a girl's initiation into womanhood and as an intrinsic part of a community's cultural heritage/tradition. Various myths exist about female genitalia (e.g. that if uncut the clitoris will grow to the size of a penis; FGM/FGC would enhance fertility or promote child survival, etc.) and these serve to perpetuate the practice.
Hygiene And Aesthetic Excuses
In some communities, the external female genitalia are considered dirty and ugly and are removed ostensibly to promote hygiene and aesthetic appeal.
Although FGM/FGC is not sanctioned by either Islam nor by Christianity, supposed religious prescripts (e.g. the mention of 'Sunna" in the Koran) are often used to justify the practice. Another example is Opus Dei which seeks to prevent female members and their offspring from 'enjoying' masturbation or partner-intimacy.
In some communities, FGM/FGC is even a prerequisite for marriage. Where women are largely dependent on men, economic necessity can be a major determinant to undergo the procedure. FGM/FGC sometimes is a prerequisite for the right to inherit. FGM/FGC may also be a major income source for circumcisers.
The "medicalization" of FGM which is wilful damage to healthy organs for non-therapeutic reasons is unethical and has been consistently condemned by WHO. (World Health Organization as well as outlawed in Canada (1992) and the United States (1995).
Religious extremism fuels this physical mutilation and emotionally-damaging (even deadly) practice.
FGM is present in North America for a few reasons, one being immigration and the other being domestic fanatic religious zealots.
The latter we shall not discuss in detail for the moment due to a current investigation.
Religious groups include (but are by no means limited to) members of the Catholic cult Opus Dei. The Catholic church is vehemently, radically and zealously opposed to fornication, masturbation, homosexuality, birth control...etceteras.
Opus Dei, as a cult of the Catholic church, shares the views of the Catholic church on sexuality. Opus Dei is very secretive of its ways and practices. Some practices of Opus Dei were exposed in the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. FGM is sometimes practiced by Catholic/Opus Dei religious zealots in the US and Canada! FGM is performed at varying ages on girls in order to eliminate sexual pleasure and satisfaction.
In scalping the tip of the clitoris (as in 'excision') or removing completely the clitoris, the result is the lack of the ability to have a clitoral orgasm or sexual tension release. The woman has lost part of her body and her sexuality. Masturbation by stimulation of the clitoris is futile although many girls struggle alone at night with this for hours as there is no clitoris after FGM has been performed.
Opus Dei views women as chattels and their sole purpose is to produce children and raise them to be Opus Dei members ("soldiers for God"). Sexual intercourse is solely for procreation and only males should derive pleasure from the action. This is a seriously skewed and harmful view towards women.
It is no wonder there is so much spousal abuse and domestic violence in these cults. When women are mistreated and abused it is damaging to all. Abuse fuels more abuse, the abused become the abusers...The seemingly endless chain of abuse needs to be broken with the
cessation of mutilating women.
Female Genital Mutilation in all forms, in all communities, in all countries, for all reasons, MUST be stopped!