Female genital mutilation (FGM)
When I first came across this term “Female genital mutilation” I didn’t really know what it actually meant. But after reading about what it means and how it’s still being practised in India I had this immediate urge of writing my thoughts down and being a helping hand in spreading more and more awareness about FGM and its everlasting effects on the victim both physically as well as mentally.
Female genital mutilation also known as female genital cutting is the custom or tradition of removing the external female genitalia. There are four different types or you may say levels of FGM.
[FGM varies from the clitoridectomy (Type I, removal of the clitoris), to the excision (Type II, removal of the clitoris and labia minora, with or without removal of the labia majora). Waris’ story contains a vivid description of the most “complete” type of FGM – infibulation. Infibulation (Type III) is the means through which the clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora are removed or rearranged in order to create a seal that narrows the vaginal opening. The opening left is tiny, allowing urine and menstrual blood to be expelled a drop or so at a time. ]
- TYPE 1
When the clitoris which is the top part of the private part has been removed completely or half.
- TYPE 2
When the clitoris is removed and then the inner lips also known as the Labia Minora are removed as well.
- TYPE 3
When the clitoris and inner lips are removed then they remove the big lips as well. And when they remove everything, the edges are stitched together leaving a tiny opening for the passage of maturational flow as well as urine.
- TYPE 4
It is often termed as unclassified as it may include any of these :
- Pricking the area.
- Introduction of corrosive material
- Cutting the floor of the vagina.
“Imagine being pinned down to the floor,
Imagine your dress being lift up,
Imagine your panty being pulled off,
Imagine a sharp Knife being heated on the stove,
Imagine you being cut…the enormous pain you’ll undergo.”
Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? Like a horrible nightmare you would never want to experience. You must be thinking that you are very lucky you didn’t have to go through this painful practice. But sadly there are thousands of women who weren’t as lucky as you. One of the darkest secrets of India involves FGM which is ban almost in every country but not in India. And still today there are girls who are being cut.
When I was doing some research on FGM I came across this documentary on YouTube (https://yotu.be/MKXXVilKCwc) which showed how this custom is still carried out in India among the Bohra Muslim community.
“People think they are doing it for religious reasons but it’s not mentioned in the Koran.”—Shahida
Some of the common reason behind this inhuman practice is that it increases fertility,in many places the external private part is considered dirty, ugly and disfiguring. Many people also believe that the external part of the female genitalia must be removed as it brings pleasure during intercourse which is not right or in more simple words female are not allowed to have pleasure during intercourse.
Though there are no scientific reason behind FGM ,the consequences of this practice is quite the opposite of their beliefs. Some of the ill effects of FGM includes:
- Vaginal infection
- Urinary infection
- HIV because of the use of same knife for more than once.
- Pain during sex
- Pain during period
- If the female had undergone TYPE 3 FGM she has to be cut open again as with such small tiny opening there is no possible chances of having a normal penetration during intercourse.
There are people who are still unaware of the existence of such mindless traditions. When I first told my friends about FGM even they had no idea of what it really meant. And so this article is just a small tool in educating people about FGM , what it is and why it must be stopped. It’s really a shame that even today people follow such mindless traditions. According to me –“why should a person 1000 yrs old and already dead decide how a woman of today’s age be living. It’s a high time people should realize this and throw away such traditions”.
Contributed by Jennifer Marandi, CEMS Dep’t; Patna Women’s College