by Anne Arouna
What is the reason behind Female Genital Mutilation? The very act of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is selfish. Centuries back in some parts of ancient Africa, men would travel far distances without cars or all the modern forms of transportation of today. The men were traders. They could leave their wives at home from anything from one to five long years at a time to journey to distant lands to trade.
What is Female Genital Mutilation?
Female genital mutilation is where the parts of the female genitals organs (usually the clitoris) is removed by cutting with a blade or razor. It is also referred to as female circumcision or female genital cutting. In male dominated societies such as Africa, this practice is rooted in inequality of the sexes.
The History of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa
Due to men’s own insecurities of their wives being possibly unfaithful during their long absences, they came up with a terrible strategy. Female genital mutilation. The primary reason for female genital mutilation was to prevent wives from having desires of sex and seek other men when the husbands were not around.
The men connived with their spiritual leaders. They even made female genital mutilation a law, lying that it was in their religion, Islam. When a girl reached 8 years old, she had to be cut in the name of female genital mutilation!
Shockingly, some men even married these young children and waited for their menstrual period to start before having intercourse with their ‘child’ brides. It became a horrific tradition. The cruel irony was that it was an act of ‘dignified’ pride and honor for the parents of these innocent young girls to be cut! Their girls could now marry with respect!
When Western education appeared, everyone was required to go to school. Ignorance had finally reached its expiry date. People, especially women, started reading the religious laws for themselves. Ignorance died and knowledge came. In Senegal, some women challenged their religious leaders demanding explanations about female genital mutilation according to the religious ordinances of the Koran. The elders could find no references to condone the cruelty of this butchery. That was how the campaign against mutilation started.
The Effects of Female Genital Mutilation
- Female genital mutilation was in fact a selfish mindless act derived to deprive females of sexual desires and gratification. It is criminal and barbaric.
- Female genital mutilation is abuse. It is degrading. A depraving act masked in culture. A violation of the human rights of a person.
- It is not only a physical ‘amputation’ but there are many more layers beneath that. It has psychological long term effects. Many of the girls who have been victims are filled with guilt; some even end up with mental health challenges.
- Some women suffer recurrent infections and even infertility. Complications can arise and some bleed to death. Lack of sterile blades and razors increases health risks significantly including HIV. There are NO health benefits.
- Kids are taken out of education and forced into child marriages.
Don’t Look The Other Way…
It is very sad to see how through centuries these women have been conned by lies. Today the practise is illegal everywhere though this is often poorly enforced.
Lets not look the other way. Every child is our child. We must end abuse in whatever form it takes.
We must not allow such mutilations to continue happening. The campaign against female genital mutilation actively continues in Africa and all over the world today. There are numerous charities that help these girls escape these terrible ordeals. There is growing international awareness and intolerance.
What is the reason behind female genital mutilation? There is no good reason! Female genital mutilation must not and cannot be allowed in today’s world. We must protect our girls. Many of us now know the awful truth behind the reason for it. And we cannot remain silent.
So that women everywhere can all be free forever.
by Anne Arouna (Author of forthcoming book, the Power of the Promise)