Women all over the world, no matter how developed the country they are living in is, are suffering the consequences of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). An estimated 140 million young girls all around the globe have been under the knife and have grown up with this trauma. Female genital mutilation is either partial or complete removal of a female’s outer genitalia. There are absolutely no medical reasons for this practice, according to the World Health Organization, yet it is a widely active practice in major parts of the world.
Stripped Away of their Innocence
This practice is a violation of the most basic of human rights. It strips young girls away from their innocence with an excuse to “tame” their sexuality as can be seen in our previous article “Female Genital Mutilation in the Western World”. Regardless of how pointless it is, families still believe that FGM is a necessary part of their young girls’ lives. This heinous act is done to young girls when they are 7 or 8 years old.
You can’t imagine what it is like to be a child and being taken into an old part of town with a trusted adult, either a mother or an aunt. You are then taken into a dark shop somewhere deep into a market no one knows. In this shop, an elderly woman lays you down on a table where you are stripped of your pants with your privates revealed. Even though this elderly woman isn’t a trained doctor, she performs a small surgery on you by cutting either half or all of your clitoris. You are too young to understand what is happening to you and too small to protest. You don’t even know it is wrong until you are so old that the only memory remains is of the betrayal your family put you through. That is the life of a middle-eastern girl.
“It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.” – World Health Organization
FGM: Taboo or Reality?
Since this is a taboo topic in most countries like Africa, India and Pakistan, people don’t speak up as much as they should to put an end to this barbaric practice. It is because of this kind of silence that there is only an estimate as to how many women all over the world are affected by female genital mutilation.
Most women who perform this practice upon young girls don’t even know the reason behind them doing it. They say they do it because their mothers before them did the same to them. It is a tradition of sorts with no medical reason behind it. A study held by UNICEF shows that 98 percent of women in Somalia suffer the fate of FGM whereas 8 percent in Iraq.
About 8,000 communities in Africa have vowed to eradicate this practice altogether as people everywhere are starting to speak up. The worst of it all is that most women who cut young girls under the guise of this century old tradition were themselves once victim of this insane practice. The bullied becomes the bully.
FGM: Rite of Passage into Womanhood?
In many tribes, FGM is a rite of passage that marks a young girl’s transition into womanhood and after this practice, she is thought to be ready to be given away in marriage. Those who do talk about their reasons behind female genital mutilation claim that it is done to ensure that a girl stays clear of all sexual activity until such time that she is married. This practice tames these girls into being docile. Most girls don’t speak up since they don’t even realize that their families and communities are stripping them of their most basic human rights.
World Leaders and Victims Speak Up Against FGM
Several world leaders have pledged to eradicate FGM from the world by 2030 with the full support of the United Nation. Several Anti-Female Genital Mutilation organizations have started their valiant efforts to help the girls who go through such a traumatic ordeal and are bringing their stories into the light.
My question to these world leaders is this: how many young girls have to continue to suffer until legal action is taken against female genital mutilation? Girls spend their entire childhoods in humiliation simply because they don’t understand what has happened to them. The first person a child trusts is a mother and a mother is supposed to be the one who does everything to protect her young one. Yet, these mothers subject their own daughters to such a fate.