FGM short for Female Genital Mutilation is the ritual of partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. FGM is also known as female circumcision More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been circumcised in 30 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
According to WHO the four main forms of FGM include
This is the 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).
This is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).
This is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and re-positioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).
4. Type 4
This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
What are the reasons for FGM?
1. FGM is a social norm and there is always a pressure to conform to what others have been doing. It is performed universally and it is unquestioned.
2. Some societies see it as a form of preparation for adulthood.
3. It is also an acceptable form of sexual behavior and used to enhance premarital virginity and marital fidelity hence the belief that FGM reduces the female libido and keeps their sexual urges in check and keeps women faithful to men.
4. Furthermore, FGM is an idea of femininity and modesty in some cultures.
What are the effects of FGM on girls and women?
1. Severe bleeding.
2. Cysts and infections.
4. Mental health problems.
5. Implications in pregnancy.
6. Sexual dysfunction including dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse).