Definition of female circumcision
Female circumcision commonly referred to as Female genital mutilation (FGM), is the cutting out of the girls’ genitalia to conform to cultural traditions and religious beliefs. FGM is classified into three types depending on the extent of damage on the female reproductive organ. The organic mutilation in some operation is drastic and very painful to the young girls. FGM is widely practiced in the Middle East, in Africa and also in western and southern Asia among female teenagers. Statistics indicate that about two million girls undergo female circumcision each year and over 120 million women have so far been subjected to the practice. The culture has attracted political debate for years because of its impact on women’s health. The practice is still common and commands much support from several communities where it is practiced. However, the practice has been opposed as being life threatening and has led to unnecessary medical costs due to its side effects on the victims, (Macnair, 2011).
Legality of the practice
The current campaigns against the FGM practice have produced some fruits as several countries have enacted laws against the practice. However, the practice is still ongoing in some countries despite being declared illegal. An example is among immigrants of France, Canada, Britain and Australia where the practice is outlawed yet it is carried out secretly. Most African, Asian and Middle East nations have also outlawed the practice yet it is carried out on large scale in communities without the knowledge of government officials. This therefore, calls for all inclusive and effective methods of curbing the practice, (Macnair, 2011).
Why female genital mutilation
The practice is based on strong cultural beliefs which vary from one society to another. The main goal is for the women to remain faithful to their future husbands. The practice is used as a rite of passage to adulthood and is accompanied by education of girls about family life. Most practicing communities uses the practice to qualify girls for marriage. Those who do not undergo the practice are considered ineligible for marriage, and are considered unclean and an outcast in the society, (Macnair, 2011).
Risks of female genital mutilation
The practice is a health risk and life threatening to the girls. The operation is carried out in unhygienic and dangerous conditions which put the life of young girls in health danger. The operation is also conducted by people who are not medically qualified, and they use crude medical tools which is risky to human life. The use of one tool on several girls puts them to dangers of infectious diseases since sterilization is not used in the process. The outcome has been the loss of life of innocent girls as a result of shock, diseases and excessive bleeding. Some have developed long term reproductive and urinary problems which have led to unnecessary medical costs on governments and individuals, (Macnair, 2011).
The FGM practice has been declining in recent years, thanks to health campaigns by world health organizations and United Nations. They have worked closely with governments and stakeholders to eradicate the practice. Most countries in return have either outlawed the process or put in place legislations to allow the process to be carried out in hospitals. Progress has been made on educating the masses on the impact of FGM to change their thinking and approaches. Community education programs on the practice are carried out in several nations to educate communities about the negative effects of FGM. They have developed an alternative rite of passage which involves training young girls about adult life without having to undergo the cut.
Macnair, T. (2011). Female Genital Mutilation. Retrieved on 23rd July, 2017 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/femalecircumcision/femalecirc_1.shtml