A vast and complex phenomenon, a brutal practice that destroys the existence of girls and young women in the world
One of the blackest chapters in world history is about them, the cut girls. "Guilty" of being born women in an aberrant and horrible society, unworthy even of being imagined in the pages of the most frightening and macabre stories in literature. Yet no, this is not the story of a book that we can close and forget, these are the pages of our history, a reality that exists and still persists in the contemporary world.
This is female genital mutilation, a practice that too often we tend to forget, or not see, just because we are far from that horror. But faced with such a brutal violation of women's rights and freedoms, it is impossible to turn the other way.
What are genital mutilation
Clitoridectomy, excision, sewing, cutting, modification of the genitals, many names to describe a terrible and dark phenomenon that damages the dignity and freedom of women and their bodies. Female genital mutilation has very ancient origins and, being widespread throughout the world, it is almost impossible to reconstruct the principle of these traditional practices.
The mutilation operation takes place raw directly on the external genital organs which can be partially or totally removed. The age of young women on whom FGM is practiced varies from the first days of life up to 15 years.
Genital mutilation today is particularly widespread in some areas of Africa and Asia and, with migratory movements, it has also arrived in Western countries as well. In Europe and in many other territories around the world, female genital mutilation is prohibited because it constitutes a violation of human rights: the right to life, health, psycho-physical integrity and non-discrimination.
Despite the ban, it is estimated that the number of girls who risk being mutilated before 2030 is 68 million (source: europarl.europa.eu).
Why is female genital mutilation practiced?
The reasons are linked to a series of social, cultural and traditional reasons that have their origins in ancient times. It is often mistakenly believed that female genital mutilation is a practice supported by religion, in reality it is a pre-Islamic phenomenon probably circulated even earlier to control the sexuality of slaves.
There are many beliefs connected to the ideals of beauty and purity, as well as health that push communities to carry out these interventions. All unhinged by the publication of AIDOS, the Italian Association of Women for Development, 2000 "Female genital mutilation. It is believed that… Instead… Because this practice has to stop ”.
- According to popular belief, female genital mutilation would make women more fertile, but in reality it can, on the contrary, make women infertile. MFGs are in fact a cause of infertility, especially as a result of pelvic infections caused by circumcision.
- It is also believed that MFGs are a guarantee of virginity, aimed at maintaining the chastity of women until marriage, a fundamental prerequisite in traditional African societies. In reality, even this belief has been undermined: the precarious conditions in which the interventions are carried out could break the membrane of the hymen and consequently could lead to the loss of virginity.
- Another widespread belief is that female genital mutilation reduces the risk of prenatal deaths. Some communities believe, in fact, that the clitoris can kill the firstborn during childbirth, a belief that has no scientific basis.
- FGM also reflects the machismo of patriarchal society: mutilations occur to improve the sexual performance of men to avoid a short epilogue of sexual intercourse which, for men, would be an affront.
- And again, female genital mutilation is also practiced for aesthetic reasons: a flat and smooth intimate area is more attractive to the eye and to the touch.
A practice that has been handed down for generations
The most disconcerting thing is that this practice is so deeply rooted within society that it is the mothers, who first underwent it, who subject their daughters to the same practices. And this does not happen for some punishment, no, the choice is made to guarantee the girls a life within the community. Anyone who does not undergo mutilation, in fact, lives as an outcast.
Beyond all the false beliefs that belong to the communities, behind female genital mutilation lies the desire to submit in favor of men. MFGs, in fact, serve to control the woman, her body, her sexuality and freedom.
The woman has no right to feel pleasure during sexual intercourse, a condition that will make her inclined to fulfill the marital relationship with only one purpose, that of gratifying her husband.
The consequences of female genital mutilation
The consequences of MFG have a very intense harmful effect, both from a physical and psychological point of view. In addition to the pain and excessive bleeding caused during the raw operation, this practice can lead to the onset of cysts, infections and infertility, complications during childbirth and a high risk of newborn deaths. Furthermore, the use of the same instruments, not sterilized, can promote the spread of HIV and other diseases.
But the consequences of female genital mutilation inevitably have disastrous consequences also on the mental and psychological health of the young women who suffer them. The brutality and the conditions in which the intervention takes place tend to traumatize girls and girls indelibly, forcing them to live in a perennial sense of anguish and deprivation.
A cut, theirs, which takes place not only physically, but also spiritually and which changes them irreversibly.
Female genital mutilation: not only in Africa
Female genital mutilation is particularly widespread in Africa, some areas of the Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia. With the migratory flows in the West, these practices are also coming to us, even if they are prohibited. For years, many associations, organizations and communities have been working to ensure that MFGs are definitively abolished.
We recall, in fact, that it is a violation of human rights and, even before that, of women, supported and proclaimed by the international charters. For these reasons, the European Parliament has for years been committed to the definitive elimination of this practice that affects girls and young women. Our country is also not immune from these barbarities. According to Actionaid, in fact, more than 61,000 women in Italy are subjected to genital mutilation during childhood, some of which are carried out during the return to the country of origin, even for short periods.
Terrifying numbers that add up to those of the world and that make us understand that massive activity is needed to put an end to this terrifying practice.
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