What is Female Genital Mutilation?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) encompasses all procedures that involve a part or total removal of the external female genitalia, or any other injury to the female genital organs that could be caused for any non-medical reasons. FGM can have medical and non medical reasons to occur.
The practice is verified and carefully carried out by traditional circumcisers, who at this point play other pivotal roles in communities, such as catering to childbirths. In many cases, women feel the circumcision will be very beneficial like it is for the men, but WHO and other health bodies are completely against this practice and urge one and all to get more educated on such topics.
FGM Female Genital Mutilation is recognized and seen internationally as a violation, unlawful of the basic human rights of girls and women. It is a clear reflection of the deep-rooted inequality that is ever prevalent between the sexes and constitutes a completely extreme form of discrimination against girls & women. It is most often carried out on the youth/minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates human beings' rights to health, security & physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
Types of FGM
Female genital mutilation is classified//divided into 4 major types.
- Type 1: this is the partial/total removal of the clitoral glans (the external and visible part of the clitoris, the most sensitive part of the female genitals), and/or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).
- Type 2: this is the part removal or total removal of the clitoral glans as well as the labia minora (the inner folds - vulva), with removing ad without removing of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).
- Type 3: Also known as infibulation, it is the narrowing of your vaginal opening through the build-up of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting & carefully repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, at times through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoral prepuce/clitoral hood and glans (Type I FGM).
- Type 4: This takes into consideration all other harmful procedures that we are making on to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterizing the genital area.
Deinfibulation is also known to the practice of cut opening the sealed vaginal opening of a girl/woman who has been infibulated, which is in most cases critical for improving health and well-being as well as to allow intercourse or to give way to childbirth.
No health benefits, only harm
We through this article would like to make it very crystal clear that, FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in more than one way and if thought about it, in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies. Generally speaking, risks of FGM increase with increasing severity (which here corresponds to the amount of tissue damaged), although all forms of FGM are associated with increased health risk.
Immediate complications can include:
- severe pain
- excessive bleeding (hemorrhage)
- genital tissue swelling
- infections e.g., tetanus
- urinary problems
- wound healing problems
- injury to surrounding genital tissue
Long-term complications can include:
- urinary problems
- vaginal problems
- menstrual problems
- scar tissue and keloid;
- sexual problems (pain during intercourse, decreased satisfaction, etc.);
- increased risk of childbirth complications (difficult delivery, excessive bleeding, caesarean section, need to resuscitate the baby, etc.) and newborn deaths;
- need for later surgeries: for example, the sealing or narrowing of the vaginal opening (Type 3) may lead to the practice of cutting open the sealed vagina later to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth (deinfibulation). Sometimes genital tissue is stitched again several times, including after childbirth, hence the woman goes through repeated opening and closing procedures, further increasing both immediate and long-term risks;
- psychological problems (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, etc.)
Who is at risk?
Female Genital Mutilation FGM is mostly carried out on girls that are just hitting puberty. Sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women. More than 6 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually.
More than 150 million girls and women living today have been subjected to the practice, in accordance with data from 30 countries where population data exist.
The practice is mainly concentrated in the Western, Eastern, and North-Eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.
We through this article want to bring the right awareness around the topic of Female Genital Mutilation so that women and girls are well informed about there personal hygiene, Stat safe, stay educated.