Since the dawn of history, mankind has engaged itself in multiple practices, which according to them are equipped with complex social orders and traditional codes of conduct. After perceiving the malignant effects, a number of these met with their abandonment over the years, while others still remain. One of the practices still plausible by a majority is Hilda Taba, that is, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM, also known as Female Genital Cutting and Female Circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are some of the areas where FGM is found to be practised in 9 out of every 10 females. The estimation of UNICEF rounded up to 200 million women living today in 30 countries-27 of which are African, undergoing FGM.
This procedure is undergone by women from days after birth to puberty and is carried out using a blade. Most girls undergo this ordeal before the age of five. Certain ideas about sexuality, purity, modesty, and beauty are the root causes of this malevolent practice. But why are people in the 21st century, the century of technological advancements, pragmatism, and knowledge, still conceding to this unthinkably idiotic practice?
Circumcision is considered as a practice of honour, pride, cultural and religious value. Ironically, when practitioners are asked about this, there is NOTHING ‘religious’ in FGM. It is just practised to reduce or entirely eliminate sexual arousal in women so as to relent pre-marital sexual intercourse and adultery. This reason is used by them as a ‘religious value’ ….Weird. Apart from being a major social concern, it is also at the top of the list as a public health concern. FGM wreaks a lot of physical and emotional effects on women along with young girls and babies.
The issue of Female Circumcision has caused heated public debate because of the identified danger of such practice. Circumcision is a historical concept and dates back to antiquities as a way of “purification” of individuals by reducing sexual pleasure, the reason being consideration of human sexuality as filthy and unkempt in that era. Ludicrous reasons were also used as a part of the controversies and excuses, such as immolation of human enjoyment. For the sake of holiness in the afterlife, a sacrifice of “sinful” human enjoyment in this earthly life was considered the most essential. The question arises- why did the “men” of the society decide that only women shall plunge into this life-threatening practice? Who were they to decide that they were superior to women ? And if purification was such a be-all and end-all for men, then why didn’t they even consider to cut off their genitals instead of females?
Such questions will never be answered by men indulged in such practices. You know why? Because they won’t be able to.
Some of the health risks of FGM are:–
- Severe pain
- Excessive bleeding
- Genital tissue swelling
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Urination problems
- Psychological consequences like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and low self-esteem
- Menstrual problems
- Excessive scar tissue formation
- Female sexual health
- Child birth complications like difficult and prolonged labor
- Risk of babies born still
With no health benefits whatsoever, FGM is recognized internationally as a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women. It establishes a deep-rooted inequality between the two sexes. There is a ludicrous myth among individuals, that FGM carried out by a health care provider would be safer. How bizarre and absurd is that? A delinquency will be a delinquency, whether committed by a professional or by an amateur. This could not be further from the truth. No reason can justify this thick-in-the-mind practice.
Mere knowledge of this practice, which is worthy of being abolished, cannot save women from this deadly practice. They need to be pulled out from the black and dark pit of honor, so that they themselves can stand against this. Various international organizations including WHO are making a collective effort to open the eyes of such blindfolded people and make this world a better place.