The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as any procedure that involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons. Obscure traditional practices that force girls and women into servitude are well known in Nigeria. It is a degrading practice that affects women and girls around the world. Although widely accepted as a human rights abuse, FGM is deeply ingrained in cultural beliefs and perceptions that will be difficult to change for generations to come.
How did this happen? The history and significance of female circumcision also known as FGM are obscured by secrecy, ambiguity, and misunderstanding. Initiation into womanhood or the preservation of female modesty and chastity are just some of the reasons why female circumcision (FGM) is controversial. Because of its widespread use, the ritual’s origins are a mystery. In Nigeria, there are a variety of forms of FGM.
There are four distinct types of female genital mutilation in Nigeria. A clitoridectomy or clitoridectomy type I (the least severe kind): Preparation or removal of the hood or preparation of the clitoris is required. A small portion of the clitoris is typically removed in Nigeria. ‘Sunna’ or Type II involves the removal of the clitoris as well as partial or total excision of the labia minora and is more invasive. Types I and II are more common, but Type III is the most harmful. Among the three types of FGM, infibulation (Type III) is the most severe. In this procedure, the clitoris, the labia minora and the adjacent medial part of the labia majora are removed and the vaginal orifice is stitched, leaving an opening the size of a pinhead for menstrual flow or urine. Introduction and gishiri cuts, clitoris and/or labia pricking, piercing, or incision, vaginal scraping and/or cutting (angrya cuts), clitoris and/or labia stretching (stretching), cauterization, the introduction of corrosive substances and herbs into the vagina are all examples of Type IV or other unclassified types that are recognized.
Every continent in the world has been affected by FGM. The majority of the time, it’s done on children (usually minors) and without their knowledge or consent in Nigeria. Type I excision prevalent in the south. Extreme forms of female genital mutilation are more common in the north. FGM has nothing to do with religion. It is practiced by both Muslims and Christians.
The physical consequences of FGM include bleeding, infection, structural damage, infertility, and death. The psychological effects are also severe and include high levels of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. There is a marked difference in the sexual quality of life of women who have had FGM versus those who have not. Researchers found that women who had FGM were three times more likely to have a difficult labor, twice as likely to suffer from an obstetric hemorrhage, and one or two times more likely to die during childbirth. The Stopcut project, an initiative of Hacey, has been raising awareness about the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM) while also making efforts to eliminate the practice.
For further information, please visit stopcut.hacey.org.
Written By Adegboye Michael