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Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation

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Female Genital Mutilation

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  1. Female Genital Mutilation Helena.melo@fd.unl.pt February 2013

  2. Other expressions for this traditional practice: • Female circumcision; • Female traditional surgery; • Female cutting; • Excision…

  3. WHO, 2011 • An estimated 100 to 140 million women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. • In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM; • An average of 4 girls each minute are mutilated.

  4. BBC, August 2010 THE NUMBER OF CASES OF FGM REPORTED IN LONDON HAS RISEN AND SOME PROCEDURES ARE TAKING PLACE IN THE CITY, A DOCTOR HAS SAID. THE METROPOLITAN POLICE SAID IT WAS AWARE THAT FGM WAS TAKING PLACE IN LONDON AND HAD INTERVENED IN 122 CASES SINCE 2008, INCLUDING 25 TIMES THIS YEAR.

  5. Waris means Desert Flower, a flower that can bloom even in the roughest climate. Waris Dirie is a nomadic child from Somalia, a human rights activist and a supermodel.

  6. Up to 500,000 girls and women living in the European Union are affected or threatened by FGM.75,000 of them live in Great Britain, 65,000 in France, 30,000 in Germany.The victims are migrants, whose families took along this practice when they immigrated.

  7. What is FGM?

  8. Joint Statement WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA: “the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons” (1997, 2008)

  9. Types I, II, III:

  10. Type IV:

  11. excision of the clitoral hood (prepuce), with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris. excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora. Type I: Type II:

  12. excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/ narrowing of the vaginal opening. Infibulation. all other procedures that involve pricking, piercing, stretching or incising of the clitoris and/or labia; introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina to narrow it. Type III: Type IV:

  13. Mostly practiced: • Type I – Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Senegal; • Type II – Sudan and Burkina Faso; • Type III – Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Mali, Eritea, Ethipoia, Somalia and Sudan – 15% of FGM.

  14. Who does it?

  15. Traditional circumcisers: • Elderly accredited women who come from a family in which generations of women have been traditional practitioners; • Without medical training; • Have a well paid job; • Enjoy a high social status within the community.

  16. To whom?

  17. Women: • From infancy to adulthood (before marriage); • Rite of passage to womanhood; • Children who do not consent and do not know what will happen to them during the procedure.

  18. The girl is held down and immobilized by a group of women and by the mother, with her legs open. During the mutilation, nothing is done to ease the pain and the wound may be dabbed with alcohol, lemon juice, ash, cow dung…WHO

  19. Unsterile instruments:

  20. In Europe: • doctors from ethnic communities practice FGM illegally at home or in private hospitals; • emigrants bring their girls back home to be circumcised in the traditional way.

  21. International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: “oppose any attempt to medicalize the procedure or to allow its performance, under any circumstances, in health establishments or by health professionals” (1994)

  22. European Parliament - resolution of 5 April 2011 on priorities and outline of a new EU policy framework to fight violence against women   ”Urges the Member States to recognize to reject any reference to cultural, traditional or religious practices as a mitigating factor in cases of violence against women, including female genital mutilation;”

  23. Consequences?

  24. Shock, long-lasting trauma; • Physical pain; • Painful sexual intercourses; • Permanent frigidity; • Psychoses; • Loss of trust in her own family.

  25. Sitting and walking became a torture; • More complications when giving birth to a baby; • Higher death rates among babies during and immediately after birth; • Absence from school and work.

  26. Defibulation: • To allow penetration in the first sexual intercourse; • To deliver the baby – infibulated again afterwards.

  27. Reasons - WHO: • Socio-cultural; • Psycho-sexual; • Hygienic and aesthetic; • Spiritual and religious; • Economic.

  28. a) Socio-cultural – tribal myths: • A non-circumcised woman blinds anyone attending to her birth or causes the death of the husband; • FGM reduces infant death; • FGM facilitates childbirth; • FGM enhances fertility; • FGM minimizes the chance of getting tetanus or other childhood diseases.

  29. Coming-of-age ritual – unless a girl’s clitoris is removed, she will not become a mature woman; • An act of connection to family community members and previous generations; • Part of a mother’s duties in raising a girl “properly”; • Fear of stigmatization by the community if they do not follow the tradition.

  30. “not undergoing the operation brands a girl as a social outcast and reduces her prospects of finding a husband”WHO, 2008

  31. b) Psycho-sexual: • FGM prevents premarital sex and preserves virginity – an uncut clitoris grows big and activates intense sexual desire; • FGM ensures fidelity after marriage preserving honor and decency; • FGM prevents divorce since it enhances the husband’s pleasure during the sexual act.

  32. c) Hygienic and aesthetic: • Women’s external genitalia are dirty and ugly; • FGM is associated with pureness and virginity.

  33. “’Only a mutilated woman is considered “100 percent feminine’. By removal of her specifically female-identified organ, which is not necessary for the male's pleasure or for reproductive servitude, she 'becomes a woman’”.

  34. d) Spiritual and religious: • FGM is necessary to make a girl spiritually clean; • Jews, Christians and Muslims practice it; • It is not required by the Bible (Old or New Testament) nor by the Koran – misinterpretations of provisions.

  35. e) Economic: • Girls are rewarded with presents after the operation; • Non-circumcised girls have little or no chance of getting married – they will be a financial burden for the family; • Family might loose high position in society (lands, jobs…).

  36. Women are economically dependent upon males – a lot of privileges are guaranteed through marriage. • Desire of men to gain power over female sexuality. • FGM contributes to the oppression of women.

  37. UNICEF “in every society in which it is practiced, female genital mutilation is a manifestation of gender inequality that is deeply entrenched in social, economic and political structures” 2005

  38. WHO, 2008 “where there is an apparent agreement or desire by girls to undergo the procedure, in reality it is the result of social pressure and community expectations and stems from the girls’ aspiration to be accepted as full members of the community”.

  39. “Human rights are foreign to no culture and native to all nations; they are universal”

  40. Which rights are violated by FMG?

  41. The right to: • Life • Liberty and security • Non-discrimination • Personal integrity • Be free from torture and other degrading treatment • To health, including reproductive health