Over 100 Million Women Have Undergone Female Genital Mutilation, A Brutal Practice

Posted on November 7, 2011 in Society

By Abha Goel:

From being a foetus to
Carry a foetus in her womb.
So many atrocities, agony and antipathy she bears,
The pain and sacrifice,
The demands and expectations are innumerous,
From her life until doom.
She who is the love mascot,
In the cruel hands of devils she is caught!

Yes, here I am talking about a section of our society which exists in majority but is given the treatment of minority. From murder to rape and dowry to abortion, she is the victim of each and every brutal practice. A day before I was browsing the net when suddenly my eyes popped out on seeing the number (100-140 million) of women who have undergone female genital mutilation according to a WHO report.

Female genital mutilation is the practice which involves the removal of female external genitalia partially or totally and has no medical significance. It is classified in four stages, the first and second being the removal of clitoris. The third stage involves the total removal of external genitalia and is often termed as ‘infibulation’ and the fourth stage defines any other non-medical practice on women genitals. It is carried out on girls from few days old to adolescents and mostly takes place in unhealthy conditions wherein equipments as dangerous as a knife, blade and a pair of scissors are used without being first sterilized. It has health consequences which can range from hemorrhage, trauma, urinary infection, wound infection, infertility and even death in few cases.

I am aghast after becoming aware of such a deadly practice in our times. The reasons cited are irrational and reflects the cruel mentality of its practitioners. The relevance of FGM is termed with societal and religious beliefs. People are of the notion that it is a basic step to take a girl towards her feminity and make her pure. Also, it is believed that it reduces her sexual interests and helps her maintain her virginity. The others are often heard saying that it is an ancestral practice and, therefore, should be continued. The midwives and old ladies defend their acts by retorting that even they have undergone this practice and it helps them find a suitable husband and maintain good relations within their community.

But think of the victims of FGM. Voluntarily or involuntarily they are forced to endure such duress and such a trauma on their physicality because of the archaic notions existing in our society. The African and European nations are found to be abetting this practice because it is not only a source of income for its practitioners but also, a deep-rooted ritual in their nations. When a girl is made to undergo FGM, many traditional events take place including folk dance, songs, music, skits and they are made to miss their school and classes, thus, barring them from their right to education.

Many steps have been taken recently by both the national governments and international organizations like WHO, Amnesty International etc. Public awareness campaigns are being organized and the participation of males is being emphasized as they are the sole decision-makers in middle societies. Also, the focus is laid on the role of scholars, religious and political leaders as they influence the jamboree. In many countries FGM is being written as an offence in the constitution and its preachers are being penalized heavily for abetting the activity both within and outside the mandate of the nation.

I feel it is a big challenge to counter act and take measures against such a brutal and widespread practice. And my only objective is to create awareness and let others know that even today (the 21st century) such a barbaric treatment is doled out on women.

So, let’s hope and fight to eradicate FGM wherever and whenever we observe it and report to the authorities because women deserve respect and not the circumcision act.