Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): What You Should Know About This Ancient Practice
Female genital mutilation is the partial or aggregate removal of the outer female genitalia or ther damage to the female genital organs whether for adjusted social or other non-restorative reasons. The United Nations estimated that an average of four girls a minute are mutilated every day. Hopefully, with increased knowledge, the number of mutilations will dwindle to zero as those nations gain knowledge of how detrimental this process can be to the mental and physical well-being of women and girls. By force, Female Genital Mutilation became a custom in Northern Africa over the last 1000 years, and slightly more recently in western and southern Africa.
The True Purpose of Female Genital Mutilation The historical origin of this mutilation practice began in the early days of Roman and Islamic expansion. It was agreed upon by the two invading forces to train and force the conquered Africans to mutilate girls and women to add to the suppression factors against Africa's women. This practice was used to control influence in leadership, character development and family building. By nature, women and men are developed normally with all parts that should be there and working right. To impose this inhumane practice, women and girls who did not receive the procedure were forbidden to marry and received death threats. Most people today who still practice this procedure are unaware of the true reasoning behind this practice and instead see it as part of male superiority misconceptions that only men should have pleasure from sex and believe the myth that the practice will prevent women from cheating on them. Likewise, many European nations adopted this procedure as well in an effort to subdue the "lustfullness" of women. Fortunately, most Islamic countries have abandoned this practice in recent centuries.
The Spread of FGM Throughout the World As with many misinterpretations used by invaders using religion as their power base, the knowledge and practice of the Koran were used as an aide to justify control over the physical abilities, presence and personal habits of women. During the expansion of Islam, some Muslims recognized and abandoned this degrading practice, while others continued the negative behaviors and action by integrating female genital mutilation as a justifiable healthy practice for over 1000 years. During the time of this action, several other faiths inter-mixed the oppressive act against women into the traditional systems of life. Even though this was thought to be an effective form of torture by European enslavers later in time, they did not want to damage the women in this way, so this was eventually abandoned and not performed on enslaved Africans in the Americas or the Caribbean islands like Jamaica. Gradually, the historical truth about why this practice was actually implemented is spreading, and the practice of this is fading out worldwide. Over the years, some countries where Female Genital Mutilation has taken place have passed laws forbidding the procedure, especially on children. Some countries with laws banning mutilation include Senegal, Egypt, Kenya, Djibouti, Togo, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sudan, France, Sweden, Canada, Uganda, New Zealand, the United States and England. The problem that lies in the fact that FGM continues to this day is that a law can be useful only if there is the belief of a crime being committed and if the law is enforced by law enforcement. Unfortunately, these laws are often ignored and the perpetrators aren't punished. We not only need to know our full history, but we also need to create better principles for living with and for each other in the present and in the future.