By Dionna Joynes
If you couldn’t tell from the title of this blog post, then I will warn you all now. The topic of this post is HIGHLY disturbing in the way that it violates basic human rights, encourages the degradation of young future women in the long term, uses the face of culture and purity as a wayward choice to control the girls in specific communities, and it may even cause for a closer look at the health care providers you and your family use, So, for those of you who don’t know, this post is about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as FGC, Female Genital Circumcision. A short definition of what this process implies is, intentional injury to female genital organs for non medical purposes. This process has occurred for at least a couple centuries, at the very least. As I researched the topic of FGM, there were many things that came up that interested, as well as disgusted me. As a Health Science/Public Health student, I always try to remain open minded and non judgmental for new ideas that are completely different from the ones I grew up on. However, the practice of FGM, in my opinion, should signal for a global emergency or call of action. There are four different types of FGM, all in which include removing a piece or many pieces of a female’s genital organs. Most of the communities and countries that have participated in this practice have been very religious based. Let’s keep in mind that I am not using culture or religion as an excuse to cut up little girls. Speaking of age, majority of the females who have this procedure are between infancy and early teenage years. For those who don’t get the visual picture, this includes cutting into a wide range of females from maybe a few months out of their mother’s womb, all the way up until they barely have reached puberty.
I read a few articles and journals about the topic and they were all disturbing. As one who wrote a High School senior thesis on this topic, I feel very strongly about eradication of the procedure as soon as possible. The specific article I will be addressing today took controversy to an entire different level. Two American gynecologists spoke out about FGM and stated that some of the types of procedure should be allowed because of the symphony towards everyone’s individual religion. Firstly, I have no problem with everyone having their own religion. I am a very religious person and I respect anyone who lives their life based on faith. However, when faith turns into intentional harm against someone else, I don’t believe it is truly about faith anymore. It is about control. Secondly, simply having laws passed to allow some “mild” types of FGM to be before is not only bizarre but it undermines all the global efforts that have been occurring for many years to eradicate the procedure.
I found that this article was most shocking because the gynecologists were American and sometimes Americans have a tendency of playing precious martyrs and believing anything they don’t do is not correct. The fact that these doctors truly believed that there should be a shortcut to getting rid of this procedure is a total smack in the face towards little girls globally who are preparing to be held down, while pieces of themselves are changed forever. This procedure doesn’t just affect the short term, it greatly affects the future a woman has, whether sexually, reproductively, physically, emotionally, mentally, even simply socially. What little girl wants to really grow up knowing that yes she had endured the procedure to remain pure until marriage, but that on her wedding night her husband physically will have to cut through stitches in an area that makes her a woman? Do you think a newborn baby is worried about never wanting to physically lay with her future spouse because of a procedure that ensures complete control over her? The answer is simply no. I would definitely recommend this article as well as any piece of literature about FGM to every single person in the world. This is an important movement. One , when I was younger, didn’t want to be apart of because I wanted to be respectful of different cultures. Not anymore. FGM is a topic that is always in the news. Whether it is about whether little girls in Indonesia should be legally required to have the procedure or how adult women suffer tremendously from PTSD and will for the rest of their lives.
Video on FGM: (Not for the weak)