International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation

Since I had to be born a woman, I’m lucky it was in India (I never thought I would say this)…

February 6th. was the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation …According to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, an estimated 120 to 140 million women have been subjected this inhumane practice and 3 million girls continue to be at risk each year…The practice not only violates the basic human rights of women and girls, but it also compromises their health and leaves lasting physical and psychological scars…

Many believe female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is required by some religions…This is not true…It is more of a cultural practice than a religious one and is generally performed on girls between ages 4 and 12, although it is practiced in some cultures as early as a few days after birth or as late as just prior to marriage…

Prevalence of FGM/C Among Younger and Older Women

Source: Population Reference Bureau, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Data and Trends (2008).

FGM/C is practiced in 28 countries in Africa and a few in Asia and the Middle East…It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women…In cultures where it is practiced, it is considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity… FGM/C is believed to reduce a woman’s libido, and thereby is further believed to help her resist “illicit” sexual acts…Unfortunately, women themselves are sometimes unwilling to give up the practice, as they see it as a long-standing tradition passed on from generation to generation…The practitioners are often unaware of the real implications of FGM/C and the health risks that it poses…

Eradicating long-standing traditional practices is not easy and does not happen overnight…One way to begin is by information and advocacy that raises public awareness and changes the climate of public opinion…

Please get involved in a social issue of your choice because I believe each one of us, in our own way, wants to save lives…

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18 thoughts on “International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation

  1. Thanks for writing this post Bones, I did not know today was ‘International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation’. The most shocking details of FGM I learnt from the biography of the Somalian model… I have a post in my drafts about her, will try and find and blog about her to support the cause.

    I think FGM is the most direct form of objectification of women – where she can be tortured and her body mutilated to ensure her husband’s pleasure. She is seen in such cultures as an object created for a man’s pleasure – with no needs and feelings of her own. 😦

    Me: Another inhumane practice is that of flattening a girl’s breasts with hot stones so that she continues to look like a prepubescent girl even in her teenage years, thereby not attracting male attention…

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  2. I remember hearing about genital mutilation for the first time when I was in college, and a friend mentioned a top international model having gone through it as a child, and needing medical attention to save her life later for the same. I just could not believe it to be real at that point. The way my friend narrated the thing, I had goosebumps all over me, and each time I hear about it even now, I react the same way. It is really really sad and terribly scary. Sometimes makes me want to believe, a woman’s life is indeed cursed.How is this any better than ‘Sati’? It is just terrible Bones, and I would rather just pretend it did not exist, that know it and live in the shame of being able to do nothing about it.

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  3. I have just one thing to say – Ouch. And double ouch!

    Apparently in some cases, this is carried out not as a baby (like in circumcision), but when the woman grows older. Even as a man, on hearing this my legs press together instinctively 😀 .

    It’s a beastly practice – another reason why I’m against religion in general. Look at the things it makes people do…

    Me: Blind faith in religion & tradition make people commit horrendous acts – when will we start using our brains for a change?

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  4. I came across this when I read an article about the model from Somalia in the Reader’s Digest quite a few years back. It seemed unbelievably cruel practice to me. Even murdering girl children at birth is not so bad (at least they die) as going through this and still continue living.
    Sometimes I wonder what it is about women’s sexuality that causes so much fear that we find such extreme measures to control and repress it! I agree with Bhagwad, religion justifies the most horrendous acts and makes blindly following sheep out of the evolved humans that we are.
    Here is a news item about another model:

    http://minerva.groups.vox.com/library/post/6a00c22523962f604a00f48cdd52420003.html

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  5. This is just too much !! So long, men have treated women like shit and did all possible things to abuse her !!! Now, when women are just coming out of their shells to be themselves, there are ppl among ourselves to ridicule such behaviour (Am referring to the post by IHM) !!!

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  6. Couple of years back I read a book (forgot the title) on strange customs and was creeped out with the details on Infibulation of young girls in Africa. It guarantees virginity 😐 and it is unstitched at the time of marriage.

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  7. Gives me the shivers. I thought Hitler’s concentration camps were bad enough when it came to experimentation on human anatomy. Reading all this (although not totally unknown to me) really churns everything in my stomach:-(

    *I like your new blog too!

    Me: Thank you!

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  8. Yes, I read about it in ‘Price of Honor’. Quite common in some of the African countries. Had known about Male circumcision but female genital mutilation was very shocking.

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  9. Pingback: It is good because it is our tradition. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  10. Me too like all the above have said got to know abt FMG/C in reference to this Super Model! Was were horrified to learn the facts of this kind and the reasons behind the doing! I just wonder how could people have thought about and found ways to induce torture on the woman in the name of whatever religion/tradition/culture/protection. It’s so barbaric and brutal… I didn’t know abt the day dedicated to the cause, hopefully lots of light is shed amongst those who practice this….

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  11. FMG/C is one of the most brutal practises ever. I remember being horrified when I first came across it – when I was a teenager. I think I read it in some magazine and was shocked that things like this could exist!

    The statistics are shocking! Blind faith in traditions can justify everything – that is very shocking! I had no idea that there was a day dedicated to this.

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  12. Have read about this.. but didn’t know that it is still so widely practiced as to have a day…. sad and pathetic too….nd yet again even some of the women blvs in this practice…

    and most Indian women are luckier at least in this case…

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