In order to have a deeper insight of what Female Genital Mutilation, otherwise known as FGM, for short, means, it is necessary we itemize the words that constitute FGM. Female in this case is of the human, the opposite of male or man, the one half of the human element. The genital in question is the reproductive and urinary part of the female. And then, mutilation is the act of defacement, maiming, destroying, removing, or severely damaging a particular thing. It is also the act of intentionally and physically harming as to impair use, notably by cutting off or otherwise, disabling a vital thing, or destroying beyond recognition and to render imperfect or impotent.
Therefore, female genital mutilation, known in some parlance as female genital cutting or circumcision involves the ritual all of or part of described above. In this case it involves mostly the defacement or total removal of the external female genitalia.
The act is usually carried out by a traditional circumciser or traditional birth attendant (TBA) by using a blade or other sharp object. It is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond.
In so many countries, a girl is cut before the age of five. It is normally initiated by women and those who see it as a source of honour and fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion.
According to investigation, the practice is found in Africa, Asia, and the middle-east, and within communities from which female genital mutilation is common.
The procedure of cutting varies from country to country or ethnic group. They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral gans, removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva.
Vulva is called fibulation, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid; the vagina is open for intercourse and opened further for childbirth. It is said to be a religious requirement and the prevalence often vary according to the geography and ethnic group.
Various communities believed that there are reasons for female genital mutilation which is to avoid a girl child being promiscuous.
Other reasons include marriageability. In this, many practitioners of female genital mutilation believed that it is a tradition and also important so as to ensure marriage because no man will like to marry a woman that is not mutilated. Practitioners hold that cutting makes a girl fit for marriage even when the girl has not reached the age of marriage.
Also, FGM is practised to control women sexuality, in some cases, women that have not been mutilated or cut are seen as promiscuous. Most people believe that clitoris connotes maleness and the prepuce of the penis connotes femaleness.
Those who believed this practice, also insist that it is removed before the person becomes an adult. It is also claimed that female genitalia is dirty and ugly and must be removed so as to enhance beauty and cleanliness of a woman.
According to the practitioners and their patronizers, female genital mutilation is practised for the preservation of virginity. They believed that the reason for the cutting is to make sure that a girl behaves normal, protects her virginity till she get married.
But all these claims of positivity have been discovered to hold no water as self respect does not lie in, instead it means whether you have the courage to refuse to have sex when you don’t feel like it or refuse to have sex that may bring harm to yourself. For social acceptance: social acceptance is the fact that most people, in order to get fit in with others, attempts to look and act like them.
Or sometimes, it is the ability to accept or to tolerate differences and diversity in other people or group of people.
In some religion, it is a belief that when a woman or girl is circumcised, she is made clean and worthy to live among men. Some Muslim and Jewish adherents hold this belief.
Another reason for female genital mutilation is for enhancement of male sexual pleasure; this can be enhanced through aphrodisiac. Aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire, sexual pleasure, or sexual behavior.
But in all these, Female genital mutilation has no health benefits and can lead to serious health problems.
The major effects of female genital cutting is infertility, and this can destroy what one has laboured for in life, because child is the most important thing any couple would wish to have but in the absence of a child, problems will arise in the family thereby causing violence and divorce in many cases.
Circumcision is a procedure that intentionally alters or cause injury to the female genital organ for non medical purpose.
Other effects include severe bleeding, recurrent infections, and vaginal infections, chronic pain, hemorrhaging, epidermoid cysts, difficult urination, obstructed labour and menstrual problem. It has psychological impact and abnormalities in the female sexual functions.
It leads to infant and maternal mortalities. Complications may occur in all types of female genital mutilation, but are most frequent with infibulations and the immediate complications behind it includes sever pain, shock, hemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissue, wound infection, fever and septicemia. Female genital cutting causes obstruction resulting in the accumulation of menstrual flow.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has remained a social problem in the society, and the victims no longer leave happy life because of the various harms it has caused them emotionally, psychologically and socially and other harms.
To curb this ugly trend all hands must be on deck. A situation where Ebonyi state is said to be the highest in South East in the practice of FGM is unacceptable.
According to research, Ohaukwu Local Government in the state has the highest prevalence of FGM, followed by Afikpo North and the three local governments in Izzi clan.
To this end, the government should ensure that perpetrators are brought to book in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Communities should also rise to the occasion by enacting bye laws against the practice.
Religious leaders should preach against the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in their sermons.
National House of Assembly should also enact law against the phenomenon.