FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Its Horrifying Reality

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a deeply entrenched practice that has affected the lives of millions of girls and women worldwide. Defined as the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, FGM is often carried out in the name of tradition despite its devastating health consequences. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM, with approximately 4.1 million at risk of undergoing the procedure each year. This grim reality underscores the urgent need for concerted action to end this form of violence against women and girls.

The Trauma of FGM and its Long-Term Effects

For those who have undergone FGM, the physical and psychological trauma can be profound. The immediate pain and risk of complications during the procedure are compounded by long-term health consequences. Survivors of FGM are at increased risk of infections, chronic pain, complications during childbirth, and psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The violation of their bodily integrity and the enduring pain serve as a constant reminder of the inhumanity of this practice.

Inhuman Treatment and Violation of Rights

FGM represents a grave violation of human rights, constituting cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The deliberate infliction of pain and injury upon girls and women, often without their consent, is a clear violation of their autonomy and dignity. Moreover, FGM perpetuates gender inequality and reinforces harmful stereotypes about female sexuality and worth. Every girl has the right to grow up free from the threat of violence and discrimination, yet FGM continues to rob countless girls of this fundamental right.

The Role of Tradition and Cultural Beliefs

FGM is deeply rooted in cultural beliefs and traditions, making it resistant to change. In many communities, FGM is seen as a rite of passage or a way to control female sexuality. The pressure to conform to these norms can be overwhelming, leaving girls and women with little choice but to undergo the procedure. Moreover, the perpetuation of FGM is often fueled by misinformation about its supposed health benefits despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Source: National FGM Centre

Global Efforts to Combat Female Genital Mutilation

Despite the challenges, there has been progress in the global fight against FGM. Governments, NGOs, and grassroots organisations are working together to raise awareness, enact legislation, and provide support services for survivors. Community-led initiatives that engage with religious and traditional leaders have proven effective in challenging harmful beliefs and promoting alternative rites of passage. Moreover, the use of technology and social media has enabled activists to amplify their voices and reach a wider audience with messages of change.

Leading the Charge

  • World Health Organization (WHO): A key player in research, policy development, and resource creation. WHO provides training for healthcare professionals, advocates for legislation, and collaborates with governments and communities.
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): Focuses on community engagement, education, and empowering girls and women to speak out against FGM. They also support healthcare systems and data collection.
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): This organization works with governments and communities to implement culturally sensitive programs, support survivors, and address root causes like gender inequality and poverty.
  • End FGM/C Campaign: This is a global partnership of leading organisations, governments, and activists. They advocate for policy change, raise awareness, and mobilise resources to end FGM/C.

Progress

Globally, the prevalence of FGM among girls aged 15-19 has decreased from 41% in the 1990s to 34% today in the 31 countries with representative data.

While some countries have shown significant declines, others haven't seen much change or even increases.

Eastern Africa still holds the highest prevalence, with Somalia (98%), Djibouti (98%), and Mali (91%) at the top.

While the overall prevalence declines, the estimated number of girls at risk remains high due to population growth.

Source: World Health Organization

The Need for Continued Action

While progress has been made, much work remains to be done to eradicate FGM once and for all. Efforts must be intensified to address the root causes of FGM, including gender inequality, poverty, and harmful cultural practices. Education is vital to challenging misconceptions about FGM and empowering girls and women to assert their rights. Health systems must also be strengthened to provide comprehensive care for survivors and to prevent future cases of FGM.

FGM is a human rights violation that has inflicted untold suffering upon millions of girls and women around the world. We urge each of you to reflect on the realities faced by millions of girls and women around the world. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the existence of this issue; we must actively engage in efforts to end it. We invite you to join the conversation below and share your thoughts, ideas, and commitments to addressing FGM in your communities and beyond. Together, let us pledge to be agents of change.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any burning opinions or ideas, please get in touch with us at larra@globalindiannetwork.com.

Komala Rudra

Komala Rudra is a devoted mother and author who explores children's behavior and nutrition, offering valuable insights and practical guidance for parents and caregivers. Her writings aim to nurture healthy habits and stronger connections between parents and their little ones.

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