Female Genital Mutilation Codie LaValle, Maddy Martell & Niki Porter
“Mama tied a blindfold over my eyes. The next thing I felt my flesh was being cut away. I heard the blade sawing back and forth through my skin. The pain between my legs was so intense I wished I would die.” -Waris Dirie, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and spokesperson on FGM
What is FGM? “Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” (WHO)
Practices of FGM • Traditions differ from community to community • women with high reputations in their society • midwives • mothers • grandmothers • physicians • Knives, scissors, razor blades, pieces of glass used
Types of FGM 1. Clitoridectomy: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and in rare cases the prepuce.
Types of FGM 2. Excision: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora
Types of FGM 3. Infibulation: Narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer labia.
Types of FGM 4. Other invasive procedures such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing
Where does FGM occur? • occurs on every continent, but most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa • 88.5%-97.9% of women between ages 15 years to 49 years reported to have been cut • in the U.K. in areas with large populations of first-generation immigrants and refugees • London, Manchester, Northampton, Oxford, Birmingham
Who is at Risk For FGM? • From infancy to age 15. (Occasional Adult) • Three million girls have been estimated to be at risk for FGM in Africa.
Cultural, Religious, and Social Causes • necessary part for raising girls properly (adulthood marriage) • rescue woman’s libido to insure virginity • removal of what is considered“unclean” or “male” parts • girls become “clean” and “beautiful” • tradition
Cultural, Religious, and Social Causes • motivated by beliefs of what is considered proper sexual behavior • no religious scripts that prescribe the practice (law by customs)
Social Consequences • Shunning • Derogatory names/songs • Denied roles other adult women have • considered a child • Ineligible for marriage • few options for women besides wife/mother
Case in Britain 2010 • Many women to hold 12 year-old Jamelia • 500 to 2,000 British school girls will be mutilated over the summer holidays • “Cutting parties” • Doctors bribed to use sterilized instruments or anesthetics
Human Rights • violates rights of a girl child and adult women to their natural sexuality • Rights of Children Violated • prohibition of torture/inhumane degrading treatment • right to highest attainable standard of health • Women Rights Violated • inferiority based on sex
Cultural Relativity • View opposing the belief that FGM violates human rights is based on the idea of cultural relativity • cultures vary in what they view as right or wrong • mistaken to criticize practices of other cultures • acceptable to values of other cultures
Female Genital Mutilation Act • 2003 • Illegal for FGM to be performed in any country on a UK resident of any age • No prosecutions have been made
World Health Organization Response • World Health Assembly Resolution for eliminating FGM • Strengthening the health sector: training to ensure that health professionals can provide medical care and counseling • building evidence: generating knowledge about the causes and consequences of the practice • increasing advocacy:developing tools for international, regional, and local efforts to end FGM
In most countries, the prevalence of FGM has decreased and an increasing number of women and men in these communities support ending its practice.
References http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/ http://lightbox.time.com/2014/02/06/female-circumcision-kenya/#end http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-children-british-law http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/female-genital-mutilation/Pages/Introduction.aspx http://www.barenakedislam.com http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fgm http://www.west-info.eu