Imagine being a young child and having your genitals cut off with scissors, a razor or a knife without anaesthetic, for no reason other than to control you and rob you of your ability to feel pleasure.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many young girls in the world. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves a removal, either partially or totally, of the external female genitalia. Sometimes the entire external genitals are removed and the remaining hole is sewn together, which leaves only a small hole for menstrual flow and urine. This scar is ripped open during intercourse or while giving birth, which causes terrible pain.
It is often carried out on a girl from the time she is four to when she reaches her teenage years. It is practiced in 28 countries in North-Eastern, Western and Eastern Africa as well as parts of the Middle East and Asia. According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 140 million women around the world have suffered this fate.
FGM has a number of health risks associated with it, including infections, chronic pain, urinary incontinence and even death from bleeding. It can also result in epidermis cysts, infertility, vaginal infections and serious complications during childbirth. Not to mention, the female will never regain proper healthy functioning of her reproductive organs or be able to experience any pleasure from sexual stimulation.
Why Does This Happen?
It’s hard to understand why someone would do this to a young girl, but the practice of Female Genital Mutilation is deeply rooted in culture, religion and society. It persists in communities there is an attitude of gender inequality and women are seen as inferior to men. FGM is thought to control the sexuality of the woman by reducing her sexual desire, which is thought to make her more likely to be chaste and faithful.
How Can We Make it Stop?
The issues surrounding Female Genital Mutilation are extremely complicated and it will be difficult to make it stop. It is a practice that has been going on for thousands of years and it is deeply ingrained into the social fabric of many societies. However, there are some things that we can do to make positive changes and work toward eliminating this terrible practice.
Spreading the awareness of this cultural practice is important, so that the whole world will know what is going on. It is not an easy topic to talk about and it can make many people uncomfortable, but it important to spread the word about Female Genital Mutilation. Talk about it with your family and friends to get the message out and inspire them to take action.
Support the Fight
Lend your support in any way that you can to organisations that are committed in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation. You will be able to directly help the women who are affected by this and protect the females in these situations who are at risk. Over time, your support will help to transform the mentality of the community responsible.
To find out more about how you can help stop FGM, contact Plan UK today. Log on to www.plan-uk.org.