Today: Jul 14, 2024

Unjust realities in world

CHARDONEE WRIGHTStaff Writer

Inhumane. Disgusting. Ridiculous. Sad.  These are the words that came into my mind as I was reading an article about female genital mutilation.  Every time I hear about this subject, I cringe.

If you have never heard about FGM, I’m here to tell you about this brutal and appalling procedure that is being done on young women in other countries.  According to Equality Now, an organization that works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world, FGM is “a harmful or traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia.”

According to the World Health Organization, FGM is classified into four categories.  The practices are clitoridectomy (partial or total removal of the clitoris), excision (partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora), and infibulation (narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting the inner/outer labia with or without removal of the clitoris.)  The last major type is all other harmful and non-medical procedures.  This includes piercing, scraping, and pricking the genital area.

In Africa, about 92 million girls, age 10 years and above, have endured FGM.  Let’s think about this for a second.  Allow that number to penetrate in your mind.  Not one or two million, but 92 million girls!  That is an astronomical amount of young women who should not have had to undergo these practices.  I can’t believe so many women are harmed in this manner.

Now, as you can believe, I was utterly blown away by what I’d read.  My mind can not comprehend or wrap around the idea that this practice is acceptable in other parts of the world.  Not only does it inhumanely embarrass and degrade young women, but it creates complications in one of the most sensitive areas of the body.  Initial reactions to FGM include shock, excessive bleeding, scarring of vital genital tissue, bacterial infections, and open sores.  There is absolutely no positive outcome of this practice.  It is not solving a problem, nor is it helping a woman in any way.  This practice is unjust, harmful and discriminatory toward women, no matter what age or ethnicity.

Not only does FGM pose short-term consequences, but it has long-term complications.  FGM can create cysts, infertility, reoccurring urinary tract and bladder infections, complications in childbirth, and the need for surgeries.  Many reconstructive surgeries are performed in the future after a woman undergoes FGM.

So, the million dollar question is of course, “Why in the world are women subjected to this type of cruelty?” Well, this practice attributes back to social, religious, and cultural beliefs in Africa and other countries.  Here are some of the reasons FGM is practiced:

  • It’s a normal “passage” of raising a young woman properly and preparing her for marriage and adulthood.
  • Cultural idealism, whereas a woman is viewed as “clean” and “beautiful,” therefore, removing certain “unclean” parts of the genital area will keep modesty and femininity.
  • Some families adopt this practice because the communities they move into practice it.
  • FGM  reduces the want for a woman to participate in sexual acts if she isn’t married.  Certain cultures believe that if you alter the positions of a woman’s genitals, hence making it more painful for sexual intercourse, she would be fearful to partake in these acts before marriage.

Either way, none of the “excuses” given to practice FGM make sense to me.  It is cruel and heartless to harm a young woman in such a manner.  This practice also falls under a “generational” routine as well.  Guardians allow FGM to be performed on their daughters and granddaughters because it was once practiced on them.  Therefore, we see a traditional procedure passed down from generation to generation in a vicious cycle.

It may be a tough situation to talk about because it deals with the most sensitive parts of a woman’s body, but it should be addressed.   Women deserve the liberty to live freely and to exercise their God-given rights, which is to have authority over every part of their body.  Women were born with genitals for a reason, and they should not to have any body parts altered or repositioned in any way because of a traditional, religious, social, or cultural norm.  That does not make sense to me.

Sometimes, I believe we Americans take for granted the amount of freedom given to us.  We don’t have to worry about a lot of inhumane practices going on in the country.  Don’t get me wrong, there are cruel and merciless people in the U.S. with no regards to human life as well, but at least in this country, we have policies, doctrines, law enforcements, and specific consequences for those perpetrators.

Thankfully, I am not the only one who feels this way about FGM.  Different measures have been taken against stopping FGM.  A non-governmental organization called Malian Association for Monitoring and Orientation on Traditional Practices (AMSOPT) has brought national awareness to this problem.  AMSOPT has worked with 80 villages, in which 53 have pledged to stop FGM practice. AMSOPT also believes that a national law needs to be implemented in order to fully stop the degrading  practice of FGM.  Different women who have undergone FGM are now speaking out against it to highlight and bring awareness to the practice.  I believe every effort to educate people about FGM is a step toward shining a light on violations of human and woman rights.

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