Beyond the Cut

In our first article in the FGM series, we looked at what is this mutilation. Thank you all for the feedback, which included adding facts on FGM. Which we will cover in today’s article.

It is estimated 250 Million girls and women have been cut, as shown in the map below. It is estimated over 3.5 Million girls and women are cut annually.  The highest prevalence in is sub Saharan African and middle east. The countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49 are Somalia (98%), Guinea (97%) and Djibouti (93%).

it is estimated 21% of women between 15-49 years have been cut, majority being in the Northern and Northern Eastern parts of Kenya where the prevalence rate is at 98%.Only four communities in Kenya that don’t practice FGM,

So why the cutting……………..

There are different reasons for cutting of the genitalia according to UNFPA, include the following.

Psychosexual reasons: FGM is carried out as a way to control women’s sexuality, which is sometimes said to be insatiable if parts of the genitalia, especially the clitoris, are not removed. It is thought to ensure virginity before marriage and fidelity afterward, and to increase male sexual pleasure.
Sociological and cultural reasons: FGM is seen as part of a girl’s initiation into womanhood and as an intrinsic part of a community’s cultural heritage. Sometimes myths about female genitalia (e.g., that an uncut clitoris will grow to the size of a penis, or that FGM will enhance fertility or promote child survival) perpetuate the practice.
Hygiene and aesthetic reasons: In some communities, the external female genitalia are considered dirty and ugly and are removed, ostensibly to promote hygiene and aesthetic appeal.
Religious reasons: Although FGM is not endorsed by either Islam or by Christianity, supposed religious doctrine is often used to justify the practice.
Socio-economic factors: In many communities, FGM is a prerequisite for marriage. Where women are largely dependent on men, economic necessity can be a major driver of the procedure. FGM sometimes is a prerequisite for the right to inherit. It may also be a major income source for practitioners.

These reasons don’t over ride the long term effects of female genital mutilation which include the following according to the World Health Organization

obstetric including antenatal, labour, delivery, postpartum, pregnancy outcome, maternal mortality and neonatal mortality,

gynecological including menstrual problems,

psycho sexual (including infertility problems),

urinary problems, immediate health problems following FGM, and psychological morbidity.

In our next article we will highlight different efforts by government and non governmental organization to end the practice

Mtoto News is an online platform of news, information and resources on children that aims at making significant change in the lives of children by making them visible in the political, development, social and corporate discourse.


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