Horrors of Female Genital Mutilation
February 6, 2019
By Fisayomi Aturamu
Female Genital Mutilation refers to any change/damage done to the female genitals (private parts) for non-medical reasons. 
Also known as FGM, Female Genital Cutting or Female Circumcision; it describes ‘any procedure that involves the part/total removal of the external female genitals, or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
There are no health benefits to FGM, so named because of the irreparable damage it causes.
Additionally, it is a barbaric act that is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
FGM is a widespread cultural practice in several African countries, including Nigeria.
In 2013, the prevalence of FGM in Nigeria was 25%. This figure increases to 41% among adult females only.
According to the WHO, there are 4 different types of cutting in FGM:
FGM is an archaic customary traditional practice in many African societies with some of the following myths associated with it:
Unfortunately, FGM has a serious negative impact on the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women.
Some of the complications of FGM are immediate, while others can result later in life.[3
Although FGM is illegal in a lot of countries, including Nigeria (where a bill was passed against FGM in 2015), a few others, including West African countries like Mali, Liberia and Sierra Leone, currently do not have anti-FGM laws.
Most perpetrators of FGM reported in developed countries where it is illegal are usually migrants from countries where the practice is still widespread.
Reported recently, a Ugandan woman was convicted in the UK for mutilating her 3-year-old daughter. 
If culprits in Nigeria and other countries with a
The fight against FGM is a collective effort by international organisations like the UN, governments, religious institutions and NGOs.
In 2007, the UNFPA collaborated with UNICEF to form ‘Accelerating Change’ intended to combat FGM in several African countries. 
Since 2012, the UN has designated the 6th of February annually as the International Day for Zero Tolerance for FGM to create awareness about FGM worldwide and bring it to an end by 2030
In conclusion, apart from criminalising FGM, there is a need for a re-orientation and education on the health implications of FGM in our communities so that FGM is discouraged as a societal norm.
Some people still encourage FGM because of societal or family pressure and out of fear of becoming outcasts.
Once FGM is regarded as a taboo rather than a norm in our society, the practice would be eradicated.
It is important to speak out and help end FGM.
References 1. International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2. The Epidemiology of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria - A Twelve Year Review, [pdf] Afrimedic Journal 6 (1), pp 1-10. 3. Female genital mutilation or cutting. 4. 28TooMany, September 2018. The Law and FGM. An Overview of African countries. [pdf] 5. BBC News, February 2019. FGM: Mother guilty of genital mutilation of daughter.
Editing By AskAwayHealth Team
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