Today alone 6000 girls around the world are being held down screaming, crying, and blacking out from the pain pleading for their elders to stop. Their voices fall on deaf ears as their right to sexual pleasure is sliced, chopped, pricked, scraped and burnt away. Female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision is the focus of my speech today. By the time I finish speaking, you will agree that this has got to stop! Today I will explain what FGM is; what are the effects of the procedure and why it is still being performed today. So going back…. What is female Genital Mutilation?
FGM is a procedure of partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs. There are four grades of FGM with the worst grade which can involve pricking, piercing or incising. Stretching, burning of the clitoris, scraping of the tissue surrounding the vaginal orifice, cutting of the vagina, introduction of corrosive substances or herbs to cause bleeding or tightening. I have just finished reading a book called ‘Desert Flower’ by Waris Dirie. In it she described her encounter with FGM. She was 5 years old when she had it preformed. Her and her family were living as nomads in the African desert.
One morning her mother woke her up so no-one else would know. She took her far enough away so that when the procedure was being done the rest of her family wouldn’t hear her screams. An elderly lady sat down next to her, rummaged in her knapsack, pulled out a blunt razor which still had the blood of the last victim on it. She then spat on it, gave it a wipe on her grubby clothes and proceeded to begin. Waris described her excruciating pain in the book and told of how she would black out because of the intense hurt. So what??? They had their vaginas sown up, it doesn’t really matter. In actual fact it does.
The effects of this procedure can more than often be fatal. Girls can experience Haemorrhaging Shock Pain Urinary infections Fracture or dislocation of bones from being held down whilst being mutilated These are only the short term effects Difficulties passing urine and menstruation Recurrent urinary tract infections Chronic pelvic infections Infertility Vulva abscesses Neurinoma Keloid scars Dermoid cysts Calculus formation an increased chance of contracting HIV and death. Nomad girls in Somalia are taken into the desert. Plonked under a little bit of shade, with their legs bound from thigh to ankle for 7-14 days.
The girls fading in and out of consciousness from the intense heat and the loss of blood. The pain to urinate through the open wound is unbearable and many girls try to go days without passing fluids, this creates the urinary infections. Traditional herbs are rubbed into the wound, and if the vulva doesn’t heal or the opening is still too big they are often re-operated on. But why would someone be able to do something so cruel to a little girl? Some believe that it is a religious practise. In all the information that i found, this statement was clearly incorrect.
In the bible and the Qur’an there is NO instruction or writing which requires the removal of female parts. FGM is expected to have been preformed for the last 1400 years. The Muslims believe it started during what they call ‘al-gahiliyyah’ (era of ignorance). Parts of Somalia believe you have to have it done to be allegeable for a husband. The men are the ones with all the power, land and money. It is vital that a girl is virgin for her husband and one way of men to determine whether she is or not is if she has been mutilated. It is also believed that the males order the procedure because it enhances their sexual pleasure.
It sickens me to think that the only reason Masai girls have the procedure is because the men do not like western ways, and want to keep their culture. This is understandable, except the fact that FGM is so a horrific. According to a Somali women living in New Zealand, “It is very hard for New Zealanders to understand circumcision. Many doctors don’t know how to look after us and tell us it is not normal – but in fact it is very normal for us. It is all we have ever known, and look forward to being circumcised from when you are very young – because it means we will be made like everyone else.
Now that circumcision is illegal here – it is very difficult. We know all the terrible problems it brings and we want to stop it, but we are scared about what will happen to girls who are not circumcised; they might be promiscuous and that no-one will want to marry them. Most of us are refugees and it is very hard to change this tradition. Female genital Mutilation has got to stop! It will take a lot of government energy and co-operation from victims but it will happen. Girls and guys just think about it would you wish this upon yourself your wives/partners or anyone else. I think you know the answer. Thankyou.