By Deeksha Aggarwalla
February 6th is sponsored by the United Nations to be the International day of Zero-tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation. In no terms is this day a celebration. This is supposed to be an awareness day against FGM.
For those who are confused as to what an awareness day is, let me elucidate.
It is as much of a marketing campaign as Valentine’s Day or Friend’s day are –only for a much better cause than helping FGMs sell luxury goods in lots.
What is FGM? Why do we need a campaign against it?
Female Genital Mutilation is as crude a term as it could be describe the inhumanity mete out to females in almost 29 countries of the world including Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan, Nigeria, Egypt etc . In the name of piety, tradition and religion, women are subjugated to the act of having their private parts damaged. To go into the technicality, there are four levels of FGM depending upon how far your vagina is massacred, whether it is the clitoral hood or the inner labia, or the outer labia or whether the vagina has been sewn completely. Does reading that sound gross to you? There, however, is no subtle way to put it. And why do we need use subtlety about this? This would be done when girls reach puberty and it is done with scissors, thorns and blade in extremely unhygienic conditions.
What do such acts of inhumanity mean?
Symbolically, it is five hundred steps ahead of the menstruation untouchable myth in India. It intensifies gender inequality and leads to greater in-discrimination against women. Biologically, it leads to numerous problems. Starting from complications including severe pain, shock, bleeding, tetanus infection, urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue. Women also experience painful intercourse,thereby requiring surgery in the clitoris. Long term urinary bladder issues, reproductive complications and cysts are some of the items on the long list of so-called-benefits of this traditional cosmetic surgery performed with traditional tools like blade and knife (not disinfected, how hygienic!). This stops the vagina from becoming looser due to penetration and thus the pleasure for men will not be reduced which might be why it is still practiced even today.
Figures which will rip your heart apart!
According to Statistics published today by UN, over 200 million women live with genital mutilation. Countries like Somalia have 98% rate of FMG amongst women aged 15-49. Most of the girls have had to suffer ravages to their healthy organs even before they had turned five. Ironically, most nations with rampant rates have actually criminalised it. Even in India, the Bohra community practices circumcision of just after/before they attain their puberty. And this is just a small portion that is accounted for. Leave the third world countries; the so- called developed nations like England (one case of FMG every 109 minutes according to official health figures) are full of cases.
In a world where we talk about feminism, equality, liberty, and democracy – this is utter hypocrisy. Nobody, nowhere irrespective of gender should have to suffer this way. Call me crude, but you are talking away somebody’s right to pee properly, have a comfortable menstrual period and have an enjoyable sex life. And those are the rights a human being should be born with, they cannot be taken away in any situation. Let us come together, dear readers and make the most of this day. Discrimination, however, small or huge is painful. Everybody talks about tolerance but there are things which should not be tolerated – this is one of them.