Echoes Of Mercy And Hope Foundation

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

Female Genital Mutilation is a human rights violation against women and girls. Since FGM is also carried out on minors it also a violation against the rights of children.
Female Genital Mutilation comprises of all procedures involving partial or toral removal of the external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. In communities where this is practiced it is believed that this will prevent the girl from sexual promiscuity and ensure that the girl conforms to certain social norms such as those related to femininity, maturity and respectability.
FGM is practiced in 31 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is most prevalent in Egypt, Mali and Guinea where 90% of the women between the ages of 15 – 49 have been subjected to FGM.
In Nigeria FGM/C is illegal (even though it is still carried out in some states) In May 2015 President Goodluck Jonathan signed a federal law banning Female Genital Mutilation. 13 states out of the 36 states have their own individual state law prohibiting FGM/C -Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Bayelsa, Ogun, Delta, Ebonyi, Oyo, Imo, Edo, Cross-River and Rivers.
There are immediate and long- term health consequences of female genital mutilation.
Immediate Consequences:
• Severe pain
• Shock
• Excessive bleeding
• Sepsis
• Death
Long-term Consequences:
• Urinary and menstrual problems
• Infertility
• Chronic Pain
• Reproductive tract infections
• Infections (such as cysts, chronic pelvic infections)
• Psychological consequences (depression, anger, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Keloids – excessive scar tissue
• Emotional distance/Social Isolation
Total elimination of FGM might take a while due to cultural/traditional beliefs but at least the process has started. The following ways could be used to help in eradicating this practice:
• Local and International (Global) awareness must be spread by anti-FGM organisations/activist groups – lot of lobbying and advocacy has to take place
• Educate the various communities on the health risks/challenges of FGM – this practice has lasting mental, emotional and physical effects that need to be discussed.
• Empower the women and girls – let them have the right to decide what happens to their bodies
• Challenge the discriminatory reasons of the practice – there is the notion that FGM controls female sexuality.
Mrs A. Obikoya


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