Over 200 million women and girls worldwide (more than 40 million in Egypt alone) have gone through female genital mutilation (FGM) and survived it. FGM is a popular culture mainly in the rural areas of 30 countries.
FGM is the deliberate eradication of external female genital organs partially or totally. Unfortunately, as frequent as FGM is, many people are unaware of the false beliefs leading to it, along with its physical and mental health risks and the government’s moves against it.
Many people believe that by practicing FGM, they are actually protecting their daughters. They think that if they don’t perform that practice, their daughters will not be accepted among their community. Besides, they trust a man would not want to marry a woman if she has not gone through it, thinking she will not be loyal and thus not a virgin. They find it is a religious duty, as a ceremony to welcome a girl into womanhood. People also think FGM enhances their hygiene and fertility. Some even believe that if they didn’t cut a girl’s clitoris, it will grow to be as large as a man’s. All these beliefs are simply mythical. There is no scientific, medical, or religious proofs towards any of them. They are solely wrong beliefs passed on from generation to generation just like any other tradition except that this one does not even have one single beneficial aspect and is harmful in the most inhumane possible way.
FGM is a violent act that could lead to bleeding a girl to death and is performed to girls in their early childhood and puberty by her family.
I can only imagine how unsafe that kid could be among her own family, the very ones she is supposed to feel safe around. I can only imagine her disappointment and confusion. The energy she preserves growing up only towards hating her body and fearing someone touching her and her not enjoying it. Her absolute right taken away from her and violated. FGM causes utterly a physical and emotional trauma.
If someone has gone through this the first thing, they should do is to seek therapy and if she cannot afford therapy, self-therapy is always an option among platforms that address this topic and offers support and awareness like, @themotherbeing and @restorefgm on Instagram.
On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in 2020 The door-to-door campaign commenced. In June and July of 2020 after taking precautions against COVID-19 with the contribution of United Nations women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), civil society organizations, religious and opinion leaders and other partners, the campaign reached over 14 million Egyptian women, men and children. The campaign’s aim was to raise awareness towards FGM, its consequences specially after coronavirus and penalties.
The government’s efforts have led to the increase of reported incidents or possible reported incidents from 240 since 2005 which is the year of the establishment of the Child Helpline to 1618 only in the intervals of less than 2 years. Maya Morsy, president of National Council for Women (NCW) and Co-chair of the National Committee for Eradication of FGM, announced that the country’s efforts are increasing so that the parliament would approve to increase legal penalties on doctors and nurses guilty of this crime to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. The government is not stopping there and they are promising to intensify their efforts so that this tradition can finally fall out.
I feel so sorry for the girls and women who were forced to go through this and I hope they realize that it is not the end and they can be one of the 50% who survive FGM and enjoy intercourse like any other girl who hasn’t gone through this or at least know that they can still find pleasure in their own unique way after communicating with their partner. I also feel sorry to the widespread of false beliefs about FGM and I hope by 2030, FGM ends for good like President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi vowed.