The beauty of Africa is its culture; it is inundated with rituals, folklore, myths, rites, beliefs, traditions and upbringings that can hardly be found elsewhere. There are certain practices that mold its people that cannot be learnt anywhere else. Its culture could not be filled with blessings though, this brings to light some aspects that fail to make someone a better person rather it scars the individual all the way… one of such aspects in Female Genital Mutilation.
What is this about? A lot of people do not really know what this process entails, they might have heard it in passing but do not know the depth of this issue and its impact on people. Now let’s talk plainly, this practice can also be called Female Genital Cutting or Female Circumcision, that paints a better picture right? So imagine what is naturally done on boys being done on a girl child, imagine her being circumcised and losing a piece of her.
FGM is a ritual that entails the removal of the external female genitalia, usually done by a local circumciser using crude tools like blades, knives or any sharp object; mostly without anesthesia. This ritual is done days after birth to puberty. Let’s analyse this;
*Removal of the external female genitalia; Now a woman’s body is complex… everybody knows this. Its features are so different from that of a masculine nature. Now, I don’t want to engage into some sex education but a female genital is a complex one. There exist several ways this external portion of the sexual organ can be removed… Could be the removal of the clitoral hood, removal of the clitoral glands, removal of the inner labia and in the most extreme case the removal of the inner and outer labia and closing of the vulva.
Now, that is what happens when a female is circumcised , she is mutilated often without anesthesia and that actually is the premise of her nightmare.
*Now let’s talk about the traditional circumciser; she is far from being a medical practitioner and definitely does not know what the dangers her practice causes on the woman. She is often older and commands respect to an extent that makes it impossible for the young girl to resist. This traditional circumciser is often assisted by other females of the community…
Medical practitioners use sterilized equipment to operate someone, but with these traditional circumcisers, they use crude tools that are used on multiple victims (if I must say) and are hardly sterilized.
*The girls go through this torturing process few days after birth to puberty and no one is exempted.
But why this process??? Well, it is to control women’s sexuality, increase a man’s sexual gratification, and promote modesty and purity. Women see this as a source of honor and fear social exclusion if they don’t. What they fail to understand is that this leads recurrent infections, chronic pain, cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth and fatal bleeding.
Even though this practice has been declared illegal and is being fought against by UNICEF and the United Nations its eradication is still a slow process… but together this can be done… let’s us say no to Female Genital Mutilation.