Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other forms of injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is widely recognised as a human rights violation and a form of violence against women and girls. Despite global efforts to eradicate FGM, it remains prevalent in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Culture and tradition
FGM is deeply entrenched in many cultures and communities where it is seen as a rite of passage for girls and a way to uphold traditional values and beliefs. The practice is often passed down from generation to generation and is considered an essential part of a girl’s upbringing. Many people who practice FGM believe that it is a necessary procedure to preserve a girl’s virginity and purity before marriage. In some cultures, FGM is believed to be a way to ensure that girls remain faithful to their husbands and avoid engaging in sexual promiscuity.
In some communities, the performance of FGM is seen as a prerequisite for social acceptance and the ability to marry. Girls who have not undergone FGM may be seen as impure or unclean, which can lead to social ostracism and exclusion. In some cases, the decision to perform FGM may be driven by a desire to improve a girl’s chances of finding a suitable husband and securing a good marriage.
While FGM is not a religious practice, some communities may view it as a religious obligation or a way to demonstrate piety and faithfulness to their religion. But there is no mention of FGM in any religious text, and many religious leaders have spoken out against the practice.
Health and hygiene
Some communities may believe that FGM is necessary to maintain good hygiene and prevent disease. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and in fact, FGM can have severe health consequences, including infections, chronic pain, and even death.
FGM is often viewed as a way to control women’s sexuality and enforce gender roles. By removing a girl’s external genitalia, FGM is seen as a way to ensure that she remains chaste and submissive to men. The practice is deeply rooted in gender inequality, and it is often used as a means of exerting power and control over women and girls.
FGM is a deeply ingrained practice that is driven by a range of factors, including culture, tradition, social status, religion, health, and gender inequality. While efforts to eradicate FGM have made progress in recent years, there is still much work to be done to ensure that girls and women are protected from this harmful practice. Education, awareness-raising, and community engagement are essential components of any strategy to combat FGM. By working together, we can ensure that girls and women are free to make their own choices about their bodies and their futures.
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.