How Societal Commitment Helps Stop FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) offers no health benefit and causes serious immediate and long-term physical, psychological and sexual harm, including chronic pain, recurrent urinary and vaginal infections, post-traumatic stress and severe pain during sexual intercourse. The immediate effects of FGM (significant pain and heavy bleeding) recur and are often exacerbated during and after childbirth, especially in women with type III FGM

FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is often performed on young girls (before the age of 5) and is therefore also a violation of the rights of the child. FGM interferes with normal healthy female genital tissue and sexuality, and is a violation of every girl’s and woman’s right to the highest attainable standard of health. Furthermore, FGM violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of girls and women; the right to be free from torture, cruelty and inhuman or degrading treatment and violates the right to life when the procedure results in death.

There are significant social, cultural, traditional or religious aspects to consider regarding the practice of FGM.  A variety of social and cultural reasons for continuing with FGM are reported, including female cleanliness, cultural identity, protection of virginity, prevention of immorality, better marriage prospects, greater pleasure for the husband and improvement of fertility. FGM is also often seen as a necessary ritual for initiation into womanhood and is linked to cultural ideals of femininity and modesty. FGM is often believed to reduce a woman’s libido and this is considered to help her resist ‘illicit’ sexual intercourse. All of these reasons are non-evidence-based. Family pressure to conform to traditional practice is another strong motivation to continue with the practice, and women who depart from the societal norm may face condemnation, harassment and rejection.

The eradication of FGM can only be achieved through a strong and coordinated approach implemented at local, regional, national and international levels. Supportive education and targeted training are recommended to enable all stakeholders to sensitively and respectfully address this complex and long-standing practice. Health care providers have a duty of care and are in many ways uniquely positioned to support the eradication of FGM It is crucial that all healthcare providers are aware of and meet the requirements of the ethical and legal frameworks that are currently in place to support the eradication of FGM. This includes continued promotion of community understanding and objection to FGM as a practice that is contrary to human rights, including the right to physical as well as reproductive and sexual health for women.

HACEY believes that female genital mutilation can be stopped. Over the years, raised awareness and educated the masses on female genital mutilation (FGM) through our capacity building Programs in a bid to end the practice.

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Written By:

Michael Adegboye

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