Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is practised as a cultural ritual by ethnic groups in 27 countries in sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East and within immigrant communities elsewhere. It is typically carried out, with or without anaesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using a knife or razor.The age of the girls varies from weeks after birth to puberty; in half the countries for which figures were available in 2013, most girls were cut before the age of five.
The practice involves one or more of several procedures, which vary according to the ethnic group. They include removal of all or part of theclitoris and clitoral hood; all or part of the clitoris and inner labia; and in its most severe form (infibulation) all or part of the inner and outer labiaand the fusion of the wound. In this last procedure, which the WHO calls Type III FGM, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood, and the wound is opened up for intercourse and childbirth.[ The health effects depend on the procedure but can include recurrent infections, chronic pain, cysts, infertility, complications during childbirth and fatal bleeding.[
Around 125 million women and girls in Africa and the Middle East have undergone FGM. Over eight million have experienced Type III, which is predominant in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. The practice is an ethnic marker, rooted in gender inequality, ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics, and attempts to control women’s sexuality. It is supported by both women and men in countries that practise it, particularly by the women, who see it as a source of honour and authority, and an essential part of raising a daughter well.
There has been an international effort since the 1970s to eradicate the practice, culminating in a unanimous vote in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly to take all necessary steps to end it. It has been outlawed in most of the countries in which it occurs, but the laws are poorly enforced. The opposition is not without its critics, particularly among anthropologists, some of whom view the eradicationist position as cultural imperialism. Eric Silverman writes that FGM is one of anthropology’s central moral topics, raising questions about pluralism and multiculturalism within a debate framed by colonial and post-colonial history.
HERE IS SOME VERY BRIEF, SAD, DISTURBING AND VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES AND HISTORICAL , (HOPEFULLY EDUCATIONAL ) VIDEO FOOTAGE SURROUNDING THIS EVIL AND BARBARIC WORLD OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION .