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Genital Mutilation

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By Isha Sharma

images (1)This article will elucidate horrifying vigorous activities taking place in various parts of the world. It is male genital mutilation (MGM) and female genital mutilation (FGM) which includes partial or total removal of the external genitals or an injury to the genital organs.  This heinous activity is prevalent in Africa, Middle East, USA, Europe, Australia, Canada and in few parts of Asia for all NON MEDICAL REASONS.

The most common type of male genital mutilation is excision of the foreskin ( circumcision ) accounting for the vast majority of all cases. The most extreme form is excision or destruction of the testes ( castration ) which constitutes a small percentage of all procedures.

The MGM and FGM is usually performed by a traditional practitioner, often with crude instruments ( scissors and razor ) and without anesthetic.  Researchers are concerned about the possible transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus ( HIV ) due to the use of such instruments in multiple operations.

The MGM and FGM which is painful by itself has immediate and long term consequences on the health and psychology of one who undergoes all this. Despite the negative consequences of FGM, at least 2 million infants, girls and women undergo the operation every year. It is about 6,000 per day or one in every 15 seconds.  It is even more shocking to know, that the age of children who undergo this abhorrent and inhuman practices is ONLY 7 TO 8 DAYS in few cases otherwise children under 10 undergo FGM.

Moreover, the following are the ‘reasons’ given by the practitioners and guardians ( including family members ) of  people undergoing MGM and FGM.

* HINDRANCE TO INTERCOURSE- It provides an environment to reduce sexual pleasure as it becomes very painful to enjoy conjugal space.

* SOCIOLOGICAL REASONS- identification with the cultural heritage, initiation of boys into manhood, social integration and the maintenance of social cohesion.

* HYGIENE AND AESTHETIC- the foreskin/genitalia is considered as dirty, unsightly and is to be removed to promote hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal.

* RELIGION- religion has nothing to do with FGM and MGM , but it is unfortunate that religious leaders have not taken a firm stand to denounce its practice.

* MARITAL GROUNDS – (FGM ) An uncircumcised women cannot be accepted as a serious and responsible adult unless she is operated.  It controls and prevents waywardness of girls, makes them a faithful wife. Moreover a girl is kept in seclusion for a period of time (at least 2 weeks ) and given instructions on morality , tribal law and social codes.

* GENDER IDENTITY- It is practiced to clearly distinguish the sex of an individual based on the belief that the foreskin of a boy makes him female and the clitoris of the female makes her a male.

After the justifications , one can easily demystify all the above reasons.  It is also worth noticing that the whole concept of FGM and MGM is so hidden in its nature that very few people know about this crime.  It is prohibited in number of nations but practitioners are still practicing it , in a more secretive manner.  Organizations like WHO , UNICEF and UNFPA are trying to prevent all this at the grass root level.

While concluding, one should re-think on the matter of sexuality, which is still considered a taboo. People are not comfortable while discussing such issues, as they consider it as IMMORAL or VULGAR. This attitude towards sexuality encourages such hidden crimes. Thus, it’s high time to ‘de-structure’  the reason why society is so concerned to prevent one’s virginity or one’s sexual activity, that in order to do so, they practice such barbaric and crude methods.

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