Topic

World News

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Women

Violence

FGM

Author
Omon Okor

I lived in Nigeria for my entire childhood. When I came to the United States, my eyes were opened as to how unaware other countries were to the overwhelming economic and cultural challenges of Africa.  It was then I knew I was meant to dedicate my life to bringing a voice to those still in the shadows and to enlighten those totally unaware of the atrocities women and children in Africa endure.

Facts on Female Genital Mutilation You Should Know

Facts on Female Genital Mutilation You Should Know

Some Facts on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


DEFINITION: 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.


Facts:

  • More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is concentrated
  • FGM is mostly done on young girls between infancy and age 15
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women
  • The procedure has no health benefits
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, cysts, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth, and increased risk of newborn deaths


FGM is Recognized as a Violation of Human Rights:

  • FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes
  • FGM constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women
  • FGM is a violation of rights of children
  • FGM is a violation of a person’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and right to life when the procedure ends in death


Immediate Consequences:

  • Severe pain
  • Shock
  • Bleeding
  • Tetanus or sepsis
  • Urine retention
  • Open sores in genital region
  • Injury to genital tissue


Long-term Consequences:

  • Recurrent bladder and urinary  tract infections
  • Cysts
  • Infertility
  • Risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths
  • Need for later surgeries (repeated opening and closing of vaginal opening)


In Africa, more than 3 million girls are at risk for FGM annually.  It is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions as well as some countries in Asia and the Middle East and migrants from these areas. 


The causes of FGM are a Mix of Cultural, Religious, and Social Factors Within Families and Communities:

  • Social pressure to conform when others are doing it
  • Considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly and a way to prepare for adulthood and marriage
  • Beliefs about proper sexual behavior, premarital virginity, marital fidelity, and resistance to “illicit” sexual acts
  • Cultural ideals of femininity and modesty; girls are “clean” and “beautiful” after removal of body parts considered “male” and “unclean”
  • Practitioners believe practice has religious support

(World Health Organization Fact Sheet N*241, February 2014; UNICEF. Feminine Genital Mutilation/Cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change, 2013)
Author
Omon Okor

I lived in Nigeria for my entire childhood. When I came to the United States, my eyes were opened as to how unaware other countries were to the overwhelming economic and cultural challenges of Africa.  It was then I knew I was meant to dedicate my life to bringing a voice to those still in the shadows and to enlighten those totally unaware of the atrocities women and children in Africa endure.



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