Female Genital Mutilation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Female genital mutilation, FGM for short, has affected more than 200 million girls alive today. FGM is related to cultural and societal norms in more than 30 countries, but is extremely prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although this is considered a normal practice in this area, FGM is considered a severe violation of human rights as it is often completed against victims’ wills.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, female genital mutilation is considered essential to having social acceptance. This practice is supposed to help prepare a girl for marriage and make her more desirable to potential suitors. It is considered to reduce a woman’s libido, which many cultures believe will help to decrease the likelihood than a woman will partake in extramarital sexual intercourse. Women are considered unclean before they have this procedure done, yet the complications that arise from the mutilation can be detrimental to the health of women and their children (“Female genital mutilation”).

The video above explains the four different types of female genital mutilation, the complications that result from the unregulated procedure, and what we need to do to stop female genital mutilation. The first three types include the removal of the clitoris, the removal of the clitoris and the labia minor, the removal of the clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora, and sewing the entire area shut. The fourth type is a group of unclassified mutilations that include pricking the clitoris, tattooing the genitalia, introducing corrosive materials to the area, and cutting into the floor of the vagina.

The video also explains some complications from genital mutilation such as hemorrhage, infection, infertility, HIV, pain during sexual intercourse, menstrual pain, follow-up surgeries, neonatal deaths, and maternal deaths. The video calls us to change attitudes, empower women and girls, and end female genital mutilation (“All You Need To Know About FGM”).

Many organizations around the world are working to put an end to female genital mutilation, including the World Health Organization and UNICEF. These groups are working to educate health providers and those who are at risk for being affected by this practice. In addition, they are working to build evidence of this practice and advocate for the elimination of it within societies around the world (“Female genital mutilation”).

Photo from  Europe’s World

Works Cited

“All You Need To Know About FGM.” YouTube. YouTube, 06 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

“Female Genital Mutilation.” Media Centre. World Health Organization, Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.


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