On 10th March 2019 the first ever conviction for female genital mutilation took place in the UK. (1) A 37-year-old Ugandan woman, who lived in east London, was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter despite deploying witchcraft to “shut up” her accusers. Her former partner, a 43-year-old Ghanaian, was cleared of involvement following an Old Bailey trial. The woman froze ox tongues with screws embedded in them aimed at silencing police, social workers, officers and lawyers in the case
However it still goes on.
I have more insight to this than most.
When I was a 4th-year medical student I saw three cases of female genital mutilation. I have to say they were the most horrific things I ever saw as a medical student. Even one of the nurses broke down afterwards- it was far too horrific for her. In one case the young girl died.
My ladies self-defense class is full of women who have been thumped by hubby for refusing to let it be performed on their daughters.
My own view
How can any loving parent allow this to happen to their daughter? However, I grew up in an Asian background I am aware that in many Asian backgrounds family honour is far more important than the welfare of your own family.
Who does it?
It is done by people of certain denominations of Christianity, Judaism and Islam for social reasons. It has nothing to do with their religion. Neither the Bible, the Torah nor the Quran mentions this barbaric practice.
So no matter what you think, it is not carried out exclusively by those who follow Islam although it is most commonly carried out by people who claim to follow Islam. I use the words claim to follow Islam because harming a woman is strictly forbidden in true Islam. The Quran makes it very clear that God says “If you hit a woman once you hit me 10 times… If you make a woman bleed you cut off my arm.”
Remember all religions teach that man was formed in God’s image, it is forbidden to alter this in any way.
Why do they do it?
So let’s go through the full briefing of female genital mutilation which I have pasted from (2.)
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
- More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated (1).
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the erroneous belief that the procedure is safer when medicalized1. WHO strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. 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.
Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types.
- Type 1: Often referred to as clitoridectomy, 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).
- Type 2: Often referred to as excision, 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 ).
- Type 3: Often referred to as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).
- 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.
Deinfibulation refers to the practice of cutting open the sealed vaginal opening in a woman who has been infibulated, which is often necessary for improving health and well-being as well as to allow intercourse or to facilitate childbirth.
No health benefits, only harm
FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies. Generally speaking, risks increase with increasing severity of the procedure.
Immediate complications can include:
- severe pain
- excessive bleeding (haemorrhage)
- genital tissue swelling
- infections e.g., tetanus
- urinary problems
- wound healing problems
- injury to surrounding genital tissue
Long-term consequences can include:
- urinary problems (painful urination, urinary tract infections);
- vaginal problems (discharge, itching, bacterial vaginosis and other infections);
- menstrual problems (painful menstruations, difficulty in passing menstrual blood, etc.);
- scar tissue and keloid;
- sexual problems (pain during intercourse, decreased satisfaction, etc.);
- increased risk of childbirth complications (difficult delivery, excessive bleeding, caesarean section, need to resuscitate the baby, etc.) and newborn deaths;
- need for later surgeries: for example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening (type 3) needs to be cut open later to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth (deinfibulation). Sometimes genital tissue is stitched again several times, including after childbirth, hence the woman goes through repeated opening and closing procedures, further increasing both immediate and long-term risks;
- psychological problems (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, etc.);
- health complications of female genital mutilation.
- Health complications of female genital mutilation
Who is at risk?
Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women. More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually.
More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated 1.
The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.
Cultural and social factors for performing FGM
The reasons why female genital mutilations are performed vary from one region to another as well as over time, and include a mix of sociocultural factors within families and communities. The most commonly cited reasons are:
- Where FGM is a social convention (social norm), the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing, as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community, are strong motivations to perpetuate the practice. In some communities, FGM is almost universally performed and unquestioned.
- FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
- FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered acceptable sexual behaviour. It aims to ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman’s libido and therefore believed to help her resist extramarital sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3), the fear of the pain of opening it, and the fear that this will be found out, is expected to further discourage extramarital sexual intercourse among women with this type of FGM.
- Where it is believed that being cut increases marriageability, FGM is more likely to be carried out.
- FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are clean and beautiful after removal of body parts that are considered unclean, unfeminine or male.
- Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
- Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
- Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
- In most societies, where FGM is practised, it is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.
- In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighbouring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement.
Doomed to fail
However, all your efforts to stop it are doomed to fail. FGM is big business. The forced arranged marriage racket is worth billions of pounds and the price for a girl who has undergone FGM is much higher.
In India it’s rife. Whenever they’d open up a FGM centre my late grandfather would go to court to get it shut down. He would even bring an Imam (Islamic priest) to show that there is no religious requirement.
However the other side would then appeal and drag it out. They openly said that they could do it because of the western halal money coming in. All items that are halal certified carry a 2.5% zakat tax. That money goes towards funding all sorts of horrible things such as FGM.
If you want to end FGM then there are two things you need to do.
- Sign the parliamentary petition to get clear labelling for halal and kosher certified items. It is strictly forbidden for many Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians to consume any halal or kosher certified item or religiously slaughtered meat. All we are asking for is clear prominent labelling so we can make an informed choice. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/261283. Once we get labelling people won’t buy. When they don’t buy there will be no funding for FGM centres.
- Go to http://www.halalandkosher.co.uk and take part in 7 campaigns to do away with halal and kosher
A question to ask all those who are in favour of it
I always ask men who advocate this barbaric procedure why they don’t have their own genital amputated. For some reason they don’t seem to be in favour of it. They say it’s done to females to keep them pure and faithful so why don’t they do this to males?
- Mother jailed for thirteen years in first British FGM convictionFemale genital mutilation- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1GI7ZyblRw
- The Truth About Female Genital Mutilation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJwP6C5q6Qg
- World Health Organisation Fact Sheet
- All You Need To Know About FGM | End FGM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN1mulqwv5g