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Female Genital Mutilation
Transcript of Female Genital Mutilation
1. Medical complications
What is Female Genital Mutilation?
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also called female genital cutting or female circumcision is defined as all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is preformed in 28 countries from Africa to the middle East and some Islamic Asian countries
In Somalia FGM’s prevalence ranges from 95% to 98%
Preformed on girls between the ages of 4 though 11.
The most severe forms of the practice is estimated to affect 130 million women where FGM was preformed before puberty.
Waris Dirie: Her Story
Effects of FGM
3. Tradition practices
Waris Dirie was born in Somalia and underwent genital mutilation at the young age of 5 then went on to an unhappy marriage at only 13. She later ran away from her home and her aunt and uncle helped her reach London where she went on to be a top model, UN Ambassador, author, and strong spokeswoman for her cause.
The WHO's Response to FGM
In 2008 a resolution was passed to eliminate FGM.
WHO's efforts include:
strengthening the health sector response:
guidelines for medical professionals to help provide medical care and counseling for women and girls living with FGM.
spreading the causes and consequences of the practice as well as how to eliminate it and care for those who have undergone FGM.
creating publications for advocacy on the international, regional, and local level to end FGM.
Videos on FGM
Although this short film is about FGM in the UK I found it very moving and well presented. I also found it inspiring that it was made by teenagers.
This video is presented by Unicef and is trying to advocate for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia.
Female Genital Mutilation
By: Kayla Mitchell
June 2nd, 2014
partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina).
narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
Causes of FGM
Conformity: pressure to follow tradition and be like everyone else in the community.
Considered how to raise a girl properly and prepare her for marriage.
motivation to promote proper sexual behavior, linking to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. believed to reduce a woman's libido if not it instills fear.
cultural ideals of femininity and modesty. These girls are perceived as "beautiful" and "clean" after removing body parts that are seen as male or "unclean".
Causes of FGM (cont.)
Though no religious scripts prescribes the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
Religious leaders either promote it, consider it irrelevant or contribute to its elimination.
local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcizers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
Tetanus infection leading to death; severe bleeding during the procedure and later during deinfinbulation; complications during childbirth; inability to urinate; septicemia; sometimes leading to death; severe muscle contractions; and difficulties in breathing.
Effects of FGM
2. Psychological effects
FGM can also increase the likelihood of a girl contracting HIV/AIDS if unsterilized equipment is used.
The psychological effects can be significant for both men and women because no one is prepared for the pain and trauma.
in cases of deinfibulation women can be traumatized by on their wedding night. Men can also be taunted for not being able to have relations with their circumcised wife. which could possibly lead them to force himself upon his wife in very painful intercourse.
In another case the husband cannot deinfibulate his wife he causing him to commit suicide.
In many parts of Somalia it is a disgrace for a man to be unable to deinfibulate his wife with his penis alone. Causing them to use other dangerous practices such as corrosive chemicals and razors that cause severe damage.
Effects of FGM
4. Cultural stigmas on the uncircumcised
If the change in attitude does not take place then women may believe that FGM is a lesser evil than the emotional and economic hardship of them being unmarried.
The United States response to FGM
Vulnerability and FGM's demographic
UNICEF's Response to FGM
What you can do
1. Help raise awareness!
Inform people about it and that it happens all over the world. argue that it is not an issue of religion or culture but one of human rights that must end
2. Help to implement it!
Support politicians, lobbies, and organizations who actively fight FGM.
3. Raise an alarm!
If anyone you know who is an immigrant and has cultural ties to this practice and a trip to Africa is in place for a young girl inform authorities. (this is more likely in the UK, and other european countries)
4. Support the fight!
Support Waris-Dirie-Foundation and her own fight, Desert Flower Foundation, Unicef, World Health Organization, and other support groups that help to stop FGM.
Women in Somalia and other parts of Africa and the world are vulnerable to FGM due to lack of education, ignorance and social, traditional, and religious beliefs.
women who have undergone FGM
This video from CNN shows Waris discussing her views on FGM and how to fight it.
This link shows parts of Waris' story:
She also has a book called Desert Flower that tells her life and a movie based on the book.
Waris also has many Foundations such as the Desert Flower Foundation and Waris-Dirie-Foundation to help stop this tragedy.
The united states has some small clinics to help women restore and rebuild their bodies after FGM.
Also within the UN the US does not support the practice and it is illegal
Unicef works to support what cultures practice but not if it violates human rights such as FGM does. In Somalia, because FGM is preformed at young age it is harder to target the girls themselves so Unicef tries to intervene with the women and members already in the community.
Unicef catorgorizes their interventions as:
ones that help to change behavior through awareness and helping communities break away from the tradition. (short-term impact)
Also to change societal norm in hopes of making it a less desirable act at large. (long-term impact)