Female genital mutilation (FGM) is also called cutting because external female genitalia is cut away. There is no medical reasons for it and occurs without anesthetic. It happens to baby girls and even adult women. Some have been in childbirth at the time. However, it usually happens to girls age 10 – 15 years. FGM has zero health benefits but often results in lifelong health problems, psychological trauma, and even death.
Cutting girls is an ancient practice that confers womanhood status onto a girl as a rite of passage. So, there is not a deliberate intention to harm. That is because the cultural rationale is often to prepare a girl for marriage. Therefore the reasons for the practice are a mixture of cultural, social and religious beliefs for preparing girls for adulthood and wedlock. The latter element introduces community ideals like modesty and fidelity.
However, in reality, FGM is an extreme form of abuse to control the sexuality of women. FGM does not make a woman but only creates a torture victim. Most instances occur in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. However, FGM is also happening in Australia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America.
For a better understanding of Cutting and the progress made to end it we spoke with Mary Wandi, Program Manager at Equality Now working to #EndFGM. Mary says the “Africa-led momentum to end FGM is growing,[and] it is vital that we do not lose the opportunity to protect more girls and women from this huge violation of their rights.”
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Cutting Girls Is Torture – Working To End FGM
Broadcast live on 5 February 2017