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Why Do So Many African Societies Cut the Clitoris of Women?

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This must not be the first time that you hear about female genitalia mutilation in Africa, where people cut young women’s or even a baby’s clitoris using just a dirty razor and no pain medication. While women in Hollywood and the entire world are trying to teach men that they can only decide what happens on their bodies, women in Africa have absolutely no say on what happens to them. Countries like Indonesia, Somalia and Guinea have more than 95% of their female population’s genitalia mutilated, since they believe that this practise should be performed at them as well as men.

They claim that it is religious-based, but the reasons behind it are far from that. The mutilation has three different types, with the third being the most absurd. What remains the same in all three types is that the consequenses are vast and they scar women for the rest of their lives.

FGM started as a religious practice, but has now taken a cultural dimension

FGM started from Islam as a religious practise, but it later moved to various other countries where people do not follow the Islamic religion. There, the practise took different meanings, which all aim to keep a woman trapped in her house and loyal to her husband.

The various reasons behind female genitalia mutilation

People in many african societies believe that FGM can ensure a woman’s virginity before marriage, her fertility, her fidelity to her husband and will prevent her clitoris from growing long like a penis. They also do it in order for a woman to feel absolutely no pleasure during intercourse.

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The three types of female genitalia mutilation

In the first type (Sunna Circumcision) only the tip of the clitoris is being cut off. In the second (Clitoridectomy) the labia of women is cut off along with her clitoris. In the third and most drastic type (Infibulation or Pharaonic Circumcision) the clitoris and labia are completely removed and the skin that remains is being stitched together leaving just a small hole from where women can urinate.

The female genitalia are considered dirty and unsightly

The World Health Organization believes that about 100 to 140 million women have suffered FGM around the globe, with 90 million of them living in Africa. Countries like Britain, Canada, France, Norway, Sweeden, Switzerland, and the United States have banned the practise.

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They use dirty razors and knives to perform the highly unsanitary ‘surgery’

The small knife being used is usually considered sacred, so it is not washed for years, often ending up rusty. The most common practise involves injuring the vagina until it bleeds a little, scraping the clitoris until it shows blood on the surface or pinching the clit with small knife to extract the white “haram” part.

The various consequences from the unsanitary procedure

Women who suffer mutilation of their genitalia often face psychological and physical problems, including the transmission of HIV (due to unwashed razors), endless pain (no anesthesia is used), extreme blood loss (which can cause death) and various infections.

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About 1/3 of the Sudanese girls suffering FGM do not survive

The pain a woman feels isn’t limited at the day of the procedure. She will also feel extreme pain at the day of her marriage when her vagina will be reopened and when she will give birth to her child. The pain of the procedure never leaves her and many women have said that urinating hurts after having faced the procedure.

90% of Indonesian mothers believe that FGM will make their daughters healthier

The World Health Organization determines that 90% of the mothers believe that the procedure will make their daughters healthier, 84.6% believe female genital mutilation can make their daughters’ vagina cleaner, 55.4% believe it will enhance their daughters’ fertility and 54.6% believe it will control their daughters’ sexual drive.

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Female genitalia mutilation is nothing but another way of oppressing women and keeping them under the control of men. Men have always been coming up with practises like this and inserted them in a religious and cultural frame in order to make the women themselves believe that they must follow these procedures for their own good. It’s time we started taking these procedures seriously and not feel good that they haven’t reached our western societies yet.

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