FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (OR FGM)
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© August 2011, The Center For Development, Inc.
Female genital mutilation is a very common practice is some areas of the world in which parts of the sexual organs of young women or girls are cut off. Often it is the clitoris. Girls are often forced into it around the ages of 5 to 10. Sometimes it is called female circumcision. It is often done with no anesthesia, and is extremely painful.
It is not only painful and disfiguring, but it often causes infection, which results in the death of the woman because this area of the body carries a lot of deadly infections. Also, the nations in which it is done often are unclean with very unsanitary conditions to begin with.
HOW MANY WOMEN ARE AFFECTED?
The United Nations estimates that 140 million (140,000,000) girls and young women have this so-called operation each year in parts of Northern Africa, and the Middle East. However, such practices are also known to occur in parts of South America and in India and parts of Asia.
WHY IS IT DONE?
The reasons appear to be part insanity and part cultural. It is believed to make women more manageable and docile, and it is a cultural “norm” in some older African cultures, in particular. Other reasons may be more bizarre, and are discussed in books that are available through Amazon.com and other book outlets.
Not only is it one of the most barbaric, painful and disfiguring practices the world has ever known. It is also one of the secretive. Few are willing to mention it, and to discuss what to do about it, including the young women themselves. They are often threatened with death or other punishments if they object to it or discuss it with strangers from outside the tribe. They are also shamed into having it done to themselves, and may even be forced into it by their mothers and fathers.
This article may be extended in the future. At this time, I just want to bring to your attention this rather widespread and horrible practice against the bodies of young women in our world. If you have never heard of it, you now are aware of it. Efforts are underway to eradicate it worldwide, but they depend, in part, upon more people knowing about it. Like vaccination, it kills and it maims all whom it touches. It also shames women in very drastic ways that leave life-long scars. To read more about it, just type “female genital mutilation” into a search engine on the internet. Several books have also been written about over the past 20 years that are available at www.Amazon.com.