Fgm: Ritual Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is a very
dangerous surgery. It is done to girls of any age, from a few days old to right
before their wedding. The most common age is three. In most countries where
FGM is practiced the clitoris is considered dangerous to the man. At one point
they thought that if a penis touched a clitoris, it would shrivel up and fall off.
Girls in Africa and parts of Asia are genitally mutilated for family honor,
cleanliness, protection against spells, insurance of virginity and faithfulness to the
husband, or to terrorize women out of sex. In the late 70?s and early 80?s parts of
Europe and the United States used circumcision as a way to ?cure? over-sexed or
neurotic women. No matter what the excuse for it, Female Genital Mutilation is a
form of sexual abuse.
There are three types of Female Genital Mutilation. The first type, Sunna,
meaning tradition, is the only form that can correctly be called circumcision.
Sunna is the removal of the tip of the clitoris. The second, clitoridectomy, is the
most commonly practiced type. Clitoridectomy is the total removal of the clitoris
and the adjacent labia (also know as the ?lips? of the vagina). The third type,
Infibulation, is the most severe and harmful type. In infibulation, the entire
clitoris and both labia are removed. Then the remaining tissue of the vulva are
pinned together by catgut or silk sutures. A tiny slit, for urination and
menstruation, is left open by inserting a sliver of wood, a matchstick, or reed into
the vagina. After the surgery, the girl is bound from hip to ankle and kept
immobile for 40 days. This allows scar tissue to form. All three types result in
many harmful effects.
Most of the effects of FGM are caused by the surgery taking place in an
unsanitary environment. Kitchen knives, scissors, razor blades, or pieces of glass
are the most common instruments used for the cutting. Unless performed in a
hospital, the cutting tool is generally rusty and very dirty. Instead of sterilizing the
instrument between surgeries, it is placed on dirt, ashes, or cow dung. This results
in many infections. Using the same tool on several girls also promotes the spread
of HIV. Due to loss of blood and pain many girls suffer from shock. Many
women suffer from pelvic complications. Also urinary retention and urinary tract
infections are common among circumcised women. Due to loss of blood many of
the girls suffer from week bones, often resulting in fractures and breaks. The loss
of the clitoris makes it impossible for the woman to have an orgasm. If the person
performing the surgery-either a mid wife or a barber- has bad eye sight or is
unsteady, surrounding organs may be damaged. There are no positive effects to
Female Genital Mutilation.
There is no definite origin for FGM, but there is a myth that may have
something to do with it. The myth is about Lamia, a beautiful seductive woman.
Lamia would ?unite? with young warrior men inside a cloud. When the cloud
would lift, Lamia was left standing with a pile of the warrior?s bones around her
feet. The bones were being gnawed on by a snake. The myth is that during
intercourse, Lamia?s clitoris ?ate? the young warrior. This myth was known
throughout the world with only a slight change from culture to culture. This myth
may be what started female circumcision.
In conclusion Female Genital Mutilation is sexual abuse. Women who have
experienced it, live in pain due to what was done to them as a child. Most of the
women are too afraid of either the men in their culture or changing tradition, that
they won?t speak up against it. No one should have to live in pain and fear all