Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


Whatever be your gender, male or female, or perhaps even both, keep reading…

One of my father’s wives was shaving my head. My own mother was busy preparing the place where they said we would celebrate today. They promised me they would give me good food and gifts. I was happy; I had never been to such a festival before. My aunts and elder cousins were all invited to join.

An aunt led me to a hut where she said the festival would begin. When I entered, I saw the girls and women dancing. But we did not dance. Instead, they held me to the ground. I was shocked. Before I could speak, one of my biggest aunts sat on my belly while others held my arms and legs spread tightly. I tried to move but they were stronger. I panicked. Suddenly, I saw someone approach my legs. She started cutting me down there. The pain was excruciating, atrocious. I was alive—didn’t she know? “Will you kill me?” I shouted at the excisor, but no one moved.





I kept shouting. I cried with all my force. I really thought they would kill me. What were they punishing me for? Where was my mother? How could they do this to me? I felt alone. I felt betrayed. I felt hated. I could not stop wailing.

When they finished, they let me go. I stood in a bath of blood, my own blood.

They went back to celebrate. This time again, I was alone, except with the pain. That unbearable pain. I wanted to run away from there, but I could not crawl. Then, the woman who promised to take care of me when I was born came and told me: “now, you are a woman…”

I was mutilated.




Story adapted from Seita Lengila from the Samburu district of northern Kenya, who was circumcised at the age of 16.

Every day 6000 girls and women are at risk of being mutilated, i.e. of experiencing a trauma similar to what Seita went through. According to UNICEF, an estimated 140 million of the world’s women and girls have undergone FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), and 2 million are added to that number each year. 

FGM is the removal of parts or all of the female genitalia. WHO identifies four types of genital mutilation:
-Type I, or "clitorectomy": Excision of the skin surrounding the clitoris with or without excision of part or the entire clitoris.

-Type II, or "excision": Removal of the entire clitoris and part or all of the labia minora.

-Type III, or "infibulation": Removal of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching together of the vaginal orifice, leaving only a small opening. One out of every three girls dies as a result of infibulation, also known as pharaonic mutilation.

-Type IV: Various other practices, including pricking, piercing, incision and tearing of the clitoris.

Contrary to popular beliefs, FGM is a cultural, and not religious practice. It is spread in many parts of the globe, even in the ‘developed’ nations. Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and the Sudan account for 75% of all cases. FGM is also carried out in parts of Arabia, India, the USA, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Around 66 000 women and girls living in Britain have been mutilated.

FGM is an extremely dangerous process that can result into serious health complications and even death. The psychological trauma is never erased. Condemned by many physicists, doctors and religious bodies, it is being abused and perpetuated by many patriarchies and sadly, by females too. Tools can range from surgical equipment to anything rudiment: razor, glass, tin.


Tools generally used for mutilation


Read more about the assigned ‘justifications’ and health consequences of FGM:
http://wolvesdreams.tripod.com/FGM.html
http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/women/fgm1.html

Even though today efforts are being made to condemn and where they are successful, to outlaw this practice, 2 million victims per year remains a genocide case. This is because FGM can effectively be dealt with only at its roots—people. Ignorance should be overcome so that perpetuators learn to let go of this barbaric act. But for this ignorance to be diminished, awareness must spread first.

Outside intervention by humanist organisations and powerful nation states is often shunned as culture imperialism. Because culture is unique and reminiscent of a tribe’s or a country’s history, it is an asset jealously guarded by generations, especially those who have lagged behind in world development. But what people fail to realize is that culture is ever-changing—it has to change, because people change, technology changes, circumstances change. Leaving our few brutal practices does not equate to disrespect. Today will make history tomorrow. Choosing the best for today is ensuring a better life for future generations. Progress will be slow, perhaps even stagnant, if ignorance from the past is carried forward to the future.

Four women journalists who reported on FGM were kidnapped by women, stripped naked, and paraded through the streets by women as punishment for their bravery in the African city of Sierra Leone.

Nor is home politics likely to solve this problem, especially in corrupt nations where politicians value their votes more than innocent lives. Governments speak words of hope, but act in despair. In 2008, the Sierra Leone government said it would ban FGM, but instead, the circumcisions of 15 000 girls were sponsored in order to buy votes, and threats were given to “sew up the mouths” of those who preached against FGM. Where laws have been enforced in Kenya, follow-up has been meager leading to this practice going underground.

Jomo Kenyatta, the revered leader of Kenya stated in his book Facing Mount Kenya:
“No proper Kibuyu would dream of marrying a girl who has not been circumcised.”

Societal pressure forces parents to abide by this practice. Unless their daughters have gone through this ‘initiation rite’, they shall not be married. The smaller a girl’s vaginal opening is (for cases of infibulation where it has been sewn), the more virtuous she is considered to be—and the greater the bride-price is received for her. Bride-price is an important source of revenue for families who have barely to eat. Mothers who are concerned for the lives of their daughters are powerless in front of the orders of the master of the house. Girls have tried to escape; few only succeeded, others did not. The change they could bring was one in trends: the average age at which girls are being mutilated is decreasing. It has been observed that females who have undergone this trauma have generally adopted more “docile” and “subservient” behaviours. Old men want to marry younger girls, and have control on them. That is why they have a preference for “docile” and “subservient” wives to healthier ones.

There are many ways to tackle this problem, but the most effective one is the one least undertaken—through the males. They are the ones who can bring a change for real. FGM is not a taboo subject—and should not be considered as one. It’s a pure and devastating product of ignorance. And that is why it is crucial to talk, to explain to others and ask them to explain their peoples. If men stop their demands for mutilated wives and fathers protect their daughters from barbarity, then actually will the need for such an inhumane practice be suppressed. We are blessed to be living in a cosmopolitan world where language and distance are no longer barriers to communication. You may not be directly related to this dark portion of the world, but you can bring some light to it. There are, of course, many articles to spread awareness about FGM on the internet, but people are too busy watching videos on youtube, and reading every body’s status updates on Facebook and Twitter that they do not have time left for anything else.

Talk to your friends on campuses, in gatherings, at work, to your neighbours so that when they go back to their native land or tribe, they can share it with others. It does help. History provides evidence to the fact that many of the world’s drastic changes have been brought about by the common man, sometimes only one of them. Men must play their part in breaking the cycle of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a Bristol detective has said [BBC News]. Transgressions are like weeds: they spread everywhere if they are not uprooted in time. Indeed, like Einstein rightly said, "the world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything."

Existence is unworthy if you cannot do anything to change the world that you share with others. Remember, while you will be hesitating between whether to talk about it or not, each single day 6000 girls will be travelling on the fine thread that separates life from death.


Reference:
BBC News: Men 'must help stop female genital mutilation' By Jane Onyanga-OmaraWorld Health Organisation, Media Centre 
Dailymail: The unspeakable practice of female circumcision that's destroying young women's lives in Britain
Mashua, voice for the voiceless
Path.org.
Human Rights

32 comments:

  1. If this is the kind of progress the world is proud about, slap modern science. People who're after million-dollars' space missions need to jailed. People who're stamping down on faith and mixing the bad and good, compromising with the good and the bad..well, yeah I am sure I contribute to this same world as well. I am responsible as well.

    Faith, faith and faith. It is the degradation of faith that has resulted this. And as long as people keep running after their desires, this will continue
    It tore my heart apart. I am ashamed. :'(

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I couldn't figure out who you are Loudspeaker, but I really liked your comment.:)

      "It is the degradation of faith that has resulted this."

      That is so much true. The degradation of faith. These days people do not even know what they believe in. And it gets worse when they do not even know they have rights.

      Delete
  2. I am your sf-er next door :P, the one whom you had suggested to comment. :)
    I wish I could do something... :|

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's you. Wow, that was cooler than what you said on SF, that's why couldn't recognize.

      You can do so much if you want. :)

      Delete
  3. hello, alpha... this is a nice post! Honestly, never did it come to my thoughts that this is happening anywhere in the world. All I know is that "circumcision" is only for boys... and in our country (at least in our community), when we were little kids, we were made to believe (perhaps), that for the girls is ear-piercing! We were told that it is the equivalent of circumcision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jaime, thank you so much for reading the post. :)
      Yes, this is so well-hidden in society that it barely goes to people's notice.
      Ear-piercing, the equivalent of circumcision. That's something I didn't know.

      Thank you again. Have a nice day.

      Delete
  4. Nice article! Male circumcision is common but not many people know about female one, which is quite atrocious !

    But are you really suggesting talking about this with my friends? :o

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Whatever be your gender, male or female, or perhaps even both, keep reading…"

      Perhaps even both? :o

      Delete
    2. Well, either many people will know through talking, or reading. One day, eventually, you will end up talking about it, albeit subconsciously. :)

      Third gender. :P

      Delete
    3. And thank you for reading and commenting. :)

      Delete
    4. Subconsciously... as in sleep-talking, or sleepwalking + talking? :P

      What is the third gender? ::)

      You're most welcome :)

      Delete
    5. As something that hops in conversation suddenly.

      Some people are both male and female. Physically, mentally-- however.

      Delete
    6. Well, I doubt it will ever hop into me subconsciously. :S Its so taboo subject...

      What's the correct terminology for that...? Sexless? :P

      Delete
    7. "The terms third gender and third sex describe individuals who are categorized (by their will or by social consensus) as neither man nor woman, as well as the social category present in those societies who recognize three or more genders. The term "third" is usually understood to mean "other"; some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth,[1] fifth,[2] and even some[3] genders. The concepts of "third", "fourth" and "some" gender can be somewhat difficult to understand within Western conceptual categories.[4]

      Although biology often determines genetically whether a human being is male or female (on the basis of the XX or XY or a variation thereof chromosomes, though intersex people are born), the state of being is neither a man or a woman is sometimes considered in relation to the individual's gender role in society, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic. To different cultures or individuals, a third gender or sex may represent an intermediate state between men and women, a state of being both (such as "the spirit of a man in the body of a woman"), the state of being neither (neuter), the ability to cross or swap genders, another category altogether independent of men and women. This last definition is favored by those who argue for a strict interpretation of the "third gender" concept. In any case, all of these characterizations are defining gender and not the sex that biology gives to living beings.

      The term has been used to describe hijras of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan[5] who have gained legal identity, Fa'afafine of Polynesia, and Sworn virgins of the Balkans,[6] among others, and is also used by many of such groups and individuals to describe themselves."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender

      It's not a taboo subject. No subject is ever a taboo. It's just the way society has conditioned you to view things-- not even your own way of viewing them. See well, 6000 girls per day in the 21st century is an outright urgency.

      Delete
    8. Wow, huge subejct, will have to research more I guess:S

      Delete
    9. An article about it would be nice. But I don't have that much knowledge of a third gender yet.

      Delete
  5. No need, I'm waiting for your next article... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Working on it. Hope I finish soon. :)

      Delete
    2. Great, that crying red eye only suits ~Alpha :)

      Delete
    3. Red eye doesn't cry, it rains.

      Delete
    4. I was just trying to be witty. :P
      It's just a decoration. My red eye isn't 'crying'.

      Anyway, let's be back to FGM.

      Delete
  6. The rights of rural women must be protected, and their aspirations must be supported. International Women’s Day is a chance for all to take a stand against this form of discrimination and marginalization that weakens all of our societies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, that was yesterday. Thanks for the comment. :)

      Delete
  7. It's sad that this still keeps going on...Maybe in lower figures but is part of actuality...
    I wonder when will this descrimination finish but as it started with humanity maybe it will accompany us untill we vanish...Kinda target!
    Alpha,bravo ;) hehe

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    1. I never thought something so vile and disgusting actually happened in such places. God!! I hope those people die so brutally that they feel twice the pain those girls felt and I hope they writhe in agony with no one at their side while they breathe their lost!! :@ :@ :@
      Never have I felt such BLAZING ANGER at anyone :@ :@ :

      Delete
    2. Eni,
      "I wonder when will this descrimination finish but as it started with humanity maybe it will accompany us untill we vanish...Kinda target!"

      Or maybe it shall be ended by us. If only more people cared.
      Thank you for checking out, see you around again. :)

      Delete
    3. Arlery, I hope your hopes realise. That's the most barbaric crime I ever came across too. It ought be punished by the death penalty, though the biggest problem today with regions lacking behind in development is to fight tradition. People should be made to realize that what they are carrying from the past is only a sum of mindsets at that point in time.

      Thanks for the comment. Hope to see you around too. :)

      Delete
  8. This is sooo scary!!! I never knew that this kind of things ever took place!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's so much more that takes place around the world, and we do not know. :)

      Thank you for taking the time to read.

      Delete


  9. BUTCHERS OF WOMANHOOD -FGM PROSTITUTION ON WOMANHOOD BY PARENTS (COVENANT OF THE FLESH).
    When God told Abraham to sign the covenant of the flesh, he circumcised all the male children and he was
    circumcised. The message was direct and in plain language. GENESIS 17: 1-27. The
    agreement was strategically initiated and the male child grew beholding
    daily his agreement with God at every call of nature throughout his married life.. The covenant of the flesh for a man is with ease to behold with no ill feelings or regrets without medication required afterwards in life.
    When God told Moses that the Children of Israel shall not circumcise their girls, the message was given in a spiritual language and bore two warnings. The Israelis parents shall not sexually mutilate their daughters and fathers were
    commanded not have carnal knowledge (incest) of their daughters making them
    prostitutes. Fgm prostitution is a satanic sacrifice for a woman, of secrecy with miseries and constrains of disgrace to behold accompanied by many cases of traumatic child delivery requiring medication. There is no fold of a fore skin in sexual organ of a woman to cut round that hides dirty stuffs that stinks. There is no part of her sexual organ that rots as she grows old from childhood. There are blunt lies of those women anointed by satan to propagate fgm when they claim women that are not cut stinks. Homes ,cities and countries where fgm is not practiced would have been stinking hell if their claim is true which would have been an open truth known by all. The devil is the father of lies and his accomplished the same. They have given fgm prostitution a satanic religious face value with wholesome none existent cleanses which is mockery to wisdom and Word of truth. Today fgm prostitution advocates feel their marriages are under attack and endangered with the unfolding truth on falsified physical and spiritual beneficial issues acclaimed in fgm. All they have is to tell epic of lies to keep their husbands mentally caged and remain relevant to their husbands. The rotten social bubble has busted and the evil social worms held by the old generation are wriggling away from families circles. Jehovah God has brought healing for the families. You cannot teach men enough on issues involving sex and the future for men is settling down to free themselves from inhuman inhibited sexual slavery in fgm prostitution . Fgm prostitution is done much more for the benefits of the man child as the end receiver in marriage which is undoing of his marital life. Fgm prostitution affects marital life of a man wherever he goes and reduces him to a sexual scavenger thus trapping him to heartless being for in fgm prostitution man has accepted satanic sacrifice over his prime head. Man must turn back to God in pursuit of Divine Holiness . What will happen in near future for women who had no choice in fgm when men free themselves from demonic fgm trap? Let men love those ladies who have under gone fgm in Christ Love. Let those ladies not condemn themselves . Let them abound in liberty that is in Christ and enjoy full life in Christ. The devil has his own even among the smart elites in every society that will justify evils under all costs. Fgm is a demonic act associated with existent of parenthood and the devil who has given it a religious backing as a cover up of deception. There are women who have undergone fgm and they hold and tell the bear truth on issues based on fgm. May God Almighty shower them with blessings of fortitude of grace to forbear the deprivations done in fgm.

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