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Female Genital Mutilation Essay

The causes, impact and consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and FGM in the UK Female Genital Mutilation also known as Female Genital Circumcision/cutting (FGM/C) is the deliberately cutting or removal of female genitals partially or fully for non-medical reasons. This inhuman act is mostly common in African countries and a few Middle East countries. However due to migration, FGM is now been practiced in other countries like: the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Australia etc.

In a recent UNICEF publication about FGM, statistics shows that more than 130 million girls and women living in the world today have experienced FGM/C and if nothing is done to eradicate this practice, it is said an additional 65 million girls and women will experience this act. . Although the practice dates back at least 2000 years, not much is widely known about FGM and its origins.

What we do know is that, it is not limited to one country or belief system: In ancient Egypt; the procedure was a mark of distinction among the Nobile and ruling class of society, it started during slave trade when black women entered ancient Arab community, FGM started with the arrival of Islam in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, other believe that the Practiced developed independently among certain groups in Africa. However, overall it was believed that FGM would ensure women’s virginity and reduction in the female desire.

My main focus on this essay is to brief you about the history of FGM and inform you about the various types its health problems and FGM in the UK. There are four main types of FGM. Clitoridectomy: The partial or total removal of the clitoris. Excision: The partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (labia’s are the ‘lips’ which surrounds the vagina. Minora for inner and majora for outer. ) Infibulation: Is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal.

The seal is formed by cutting and sewing over the outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris or inner labia. Sometimes with infibulation, the hole left for urine and menstrual fluid is very tiny causing the above normalities almost impossible. Others: Harmful procedures to the female genitals, which include pricking, piercing, cutting, scraping and burning the area. Although this practice originated more than two thousand years ago, it is still carried out in 2015. Prevalence of 98% in Somali, 90 in Ghana, 86 in Kenya are shocking results from thee UNICEF.

Traditional, illiteracy, religious, sort of income and customs reasons are the ones surviving FGM in today’s generation. Because ancestors of cultures who practised FGM did it, it became a formality of the following generations who then passed it on to today’s generation. The victims were made to believe it was purifying them, preparation to adulthood and marriage and stopping or discouraging sexual intercourse before marriage this was linked to religious believes but yet there is no Holy book which has mention anything about FGM.

Also there is a huge pressure and stigma put on females who haven’t been cut yet from communities who practice FGM by their family, friends and community. After all majorities are not enlightened on the effects of FGM, as well as, many men don’t know what FGM actually is. This because it is not a subject which is openly discussed. Some men are breed up to not get married to girls who aren’t circumcised as they are seen as unclean and an example was a story of a Canadian man who went back to Africa to get married but after he was told his wife to be isn’t ircumcised; he left the environment and flew the next day back to Canada. You will think he should know better and the effects of FGM, however sometimes traditional cultures are more powerful. All types of FGM are very painful and distressing; with the procedure mostly done on girls under the age of fifteen and someone with no medical training due to that the after effects only increases.

After FGM has been performed, the girls suffer from immediate effects such as: shock, bleeding, inability to urinate, damage of organs, wound infections for example tetanus, hepatitis B and even HIV/AIDS as a result of using the san ame equipment, another severe case is where the procedure could result to death through severe bleeding leading to haemorrhagic shock, neurogenic shock as a result of pain and trauma, and overwhelming infection and septicaemia. In addition to the above effects women who have undergone FGM also suffer from various long-term effects-physical, sexual and psychological.

Women may experience chronic pain, chronic pelvic infections, development of cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers, excessive scar tissue formation, infection of the reproductive system, decreased sexual enjoyment and psychological consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Women who have undergone infibulation risk to loss their fertility: also in most of these cases: surgery might be needed for women who aren’t able to have sexual intercourse or before labour time for a safer birth.

FGM increases the risk of the vagina tearing during delivery, which causes damage and can lead to heavy bleeding. It can also increase the risk of the baby dying during, or just after birth. The UK now faces FGM due to migration. It is estimated by the NHS that 66,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of FGM and that more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk every year to be cut. But a report from The Dailymail say these figures lies towards 140,000 and 65,000 girls at risk every year.

FGM has been illegal for 28 years in the UK and it still is. It is an offence for anyone to perform FGM in the UK or to arrange for a girl to be taken abroad for it, if caught the offender faces a huge fine and a prison sentence of up to 14 years. However families aren’t threatened by the penalties. The reason why is because families will go on holiday during the summer to their country of origin and perform FGM. After that the girl has enough time to heal before she goes back to school or college.

Another alternative than families going abroad and perform FGM. What happens is, a family would fly a practitioner into the country to perform FGM on their daughter and other girls from the same community which is cheaper. Families get away with this because FGM is a silent topic and also, the chances of a young girl coming forward and giving evidence against family members are remote. Even though there have been cases about FGM in the UK; still nobody has been prosecuted yet.

This is because these cases were either neglected or not seriously investigated. To eradicate FGM in the UK the government will have to approach FGM cases in a very solid manner for example like how the French are doing done which is proving to be working. In France girls are routinely checked by their doctors, many cases have been successfully investigated leading to over a 100 convictions which illustrate zero tolerance toward FGM as last FGM should not be a neglected topic.

It should be spoken by government representative, at home and especially in school and college. Even though FGM is practiced mostly by African countries, there are many other countries in Africa where FGM is seen as a taboo and has been banned; also eighteen countries in Africa have criminalised FGM. An offender could face a fine and a minimum sentence of three months to a maximum of life imprisonment. Examples of those countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Central African Republic.

Many organisation, charities and rassrootgroup such as WHO,UNICEF, Daughters of Eve and Desert Flower foundation are working together or in similar ways to eradicate the practice of FGM. For example the provide a safety environment for girls at risk or girls how have already experienced FGM and need help also; they are enlighten communities about the immediate and long term problems of FGM and also persuade practitioners to give up their blades and learn a skill like giving birth which has help reduced the practice of FGM.

A recent Statistic data from the UNICEF shows a slow decline of FGM in majorities of the countries however in some these countries there haven’t been a decline. An example is shows the prevalence in most countries is decreasing and also an increase in population by men and women supporting the end of the practice.

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