(The article below was culled from JBindu’s blog: http://www.jbindu.blogspot.ca and was originally posted on July 23, 2015).
“Today, I will not bow
To the drums of the shriveled village medicine woman
as she leads the crazed dance, and at its feverish peak
they restrain me down and crudely hack off
the tingling bud of my maidenhead!”
-Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido
(Excerpt from the Poem, “Today I will not bow”)
A barbaric process is in practice where in the female genitalia (vulva, clitoris) of new-borns, young girls (7-12 years old) before or just after their puberty, is snipped off or removed. This is known as Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting (FMG/C)
Definition of FMG/C – “All procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for non-medicinal reasons” (WHO)
Classification of FGM/C as given by WHO in 2007
Type 1 or Clitoridectomy
Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the clitoral hood.
Type 2 or Excision
Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora.
Type 3 or Infibulation
Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and placing together the
labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris.
Type 4 or Unclassified
all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, and cauterization
Don’t know what is a Clitoris or why is it important to know about FGM/C?
Let me decipher the jargon that explains it.
The tiny feel good button of women popularly known as the G-Spot, which takes a woman for a ride around the colossal universe when she’s off exploring her body or indulging herself in that casual masturbation, or when having sex with the man or woman of hers; that’s the teeny – tiny part of the clitoris.
For those of you who do not know where to locate it in your body, it is the little hooded nubbin above the opening of the vagina scientists call “clitoral glans.”
For all the men out there who are wondering about the existence of Clitoris in a woman, (well you need to know this so that it will enable the male community to sympathize with the impact of FGM/C of women) it is very much similar to the male anatomy because it has a glans, a foreskin, also known as the clitoral hood so the feeling is also very similar or as heightened when you’re aroused and get a penile erection.
FGM/C is also known as Female Circumcision. The clitoral glans is a bundle of nerve endings around 8,000 in fact, more than anywhere else in the body and twice the number in the head of a penis.
You can relate to it now, yeah? Hell yeah. Now now, all you ladies and men envision yourselves without that clitoris and penis. Oh the horror! Then the very essence of indulging in any kind of sexually stimulating activity is lost. No orgasms, no masturbation anymore. Ouch.
An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM/C and more than 3 million girls are at risk for cutting each year in the African continent alone.
Why is FGM/C done, you ask?
Apparently it is done to protect women permanently from losing their vaginal virginity.
Other reasons as mentioned by a study conducted to find out the reasons responsible for FGM/C are:
- FGM/C include the beliefs that it is a “good tradition”
- A necessary rite of passage to womanhood
- That it ensures cleanliness or better marriage prospects
- Prevents promiscuity
- Excessive clitoral growth, preserves virginity
- Enhances male sexuality
- Facilitates childbirth by widening the birth canal
These reasons are given as a crude justification by people who support the whole process of FMG/C.
To enhance male sexuality? Well, absolutely no regard given to female sexuality.
Thank you, age-old baseless traditions. But the catch here is FGM/C robs women from all the benefits a Clitoris would provide (hence the detailed explanation of clitoris).
No, seriously. I just cannot comprehend the fact that both men and women are of the beliefs that women are considered to be brought in this world just to produce children?
Aren’t they allowed to get that tipping point of profound peak of satisfaction from an orgasm?
Or the very essence of enjoying their physical indulgence with a man/woman?
Is the vagina meant to be inserted with a penis just for the sake of producing off springs so they can carry on their family lineage?
How would you react if your leg/hand/tongue/toes/fingers were cut off without your consent?
What about the kind of implications this action will have on the health of the woman?
No concern is shown towards it whatsoever.
The whole process of FMG/C is done by deceiving innocent girls by telling them that they are taken to their grandmother’s, aunt’s house for a casual outing and are asked to lay on bed legs apart and the tiny muscle of their clitoris is snipped off in cold blood by a much older uneducated woman who supports the whole idea of FMG/C.
In African countries the level of hygiene while doing this is obscure. Usually the mother of the girls is uneducated and supports it because she doesn’t want to be labelled as someone who refused to follow the so called religious practice. Some girls are then forced to resort to child marriage in African countries.
FGM/C is practiced globally, extensively in Africa, 85% of genital mutilations is practiced in Africa to a lesser extent in the Middle East and South Asia. It is practiced in at least 28 of 43 African countries; the prevalence varies from 98 % in Somalia to 5 % in Zaire.
A review of country-specific Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) shows FGM prevalence rates of Egypt, Eritrea, Mali, Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic.
FGM/C is also found among some ethnic groups in Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, as well as in parts of India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. FGM/C has become an important issue in Australia, Canada, England, France, and the United States due to the continuation of the practice by immigrants from countries where FGM/C is common.
Yes, it is very much in practice in India too; albeit a small section of people called the Dawoodi Bohra community, a sect of the Shia-Muslims migrated from Yemen conduct this vicious practice.
When an educated woman who has undergone FMG/C realizes the horror of the fact that she is stripped off from the very essence of her sexuality, the revelation of it by her is unfathomable.
As the girls undergo this procedure they are obviously not aware of its consequences, and that could be many; depending on the degree of mutilation FGM can cause severe pain and shock, uterus, vaginal and pelvic infections, complications in pregnancy and childbirth, sexual dysfunction, difficulties in menstruation and psychological damages among many consequences. In addition to these there are considerable psycho-sexual, psychological and social consequences of FGM.
No, we cannot understand the magnitude of plight these women are subjected to when they go through FMG/C or the permanent impact of it.
The girls of that tender age are frightened and do not dare to speak about this out loud with anyone.
We need to address this issue and talk about it rather than just reading about it, raise awareness so much so that young girls are not subjected to this barbaric mutilation of their sexuality.
Research studies show facts and figures that educated mothers who have undergone the genital mutilation refuse to let it happen to girls who will be victimized into that process.
There are instances where women don’t even realize that it was their clitoris that was cut from their body; they do not know why it was done or the main motivation behind it. They will be deprived from the feeling of pleasure for the rest of their lives, that experience for which we have the privilege of is stripped off from them.
Although it has not been mentioned or stated in any of the holy scriptures of that FGM/C must be conducted, the whole idea of FGM/C is propagated in the name of religion as a cultural belief, as it is one of the most effective tool to make believe innocent people; to deprive women eternally from a holistic sexual experience.
Education and Awareness of Female sexuality is the first key to at least help these women who have undergone FMG/C to come out and speak about it so that their voices are heard. It is very essential to educate young girls about female genitalia.
After all, an educated girl can protect herself from FGM/C. An educated girl can safeguard the basic human right to let women keep their body parts to themselves by spreading awareness and ill – effects of FGM/C.
Women are born with female genitalia for a reason, no one has the authority to do something as vile as FGM/C.
PS This has been written after going through a lot of verified articles which are substantiated by real life experiences shared by women who had undergone any one type of genital mutilation.
I genuinely hope that this post has provoked you to explicitly talk about this matter or issues relating to FGM/C or any kind of unethical, humanely abhorrent action which is practiced on women.
This document states the facts and figures of FGM/C practiced in African countries http://www.prb.org/pdf14/fgm-wallchart2014.pdf
Here’s the link to the Ted Talk above which made me so furious and cry a river.
N.B: Also read this article on the New Bill passed at the Nigerian Senate to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation.
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