Today, February 6, has been declared international day for zero tolerance on female genital mutilation. In Europe, 500,000 girls and women live with the lifelong consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM). Worldwide, three million girls each year are subjected to FGM, and a total of 100 to 140 million girls and women live with its consequences. FGM may be culturally sanctioned in some societies, but it is a violation of dignity, bodily integrity and human rights as well as a health hazard. Besides, the continued tolerance for FGM is part of a wider range of oppression of and violence against women and girls in western as well as eastern societies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines FGM as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” There are four types:
- Type I: removal of part or all of the clitoris.
- Type II: removal of the clitoris and inner labia.
- Type III: removal of all or part of the inner and outer labia and clitoris, fusing the wound, leaving only a small hole for urine and menstrual blood to pass.
- Type IV: all other, usually less severe, procedures to mutilate the genitalia, such as pricking or piercing.
As many as ten percent of girls who are subjected to FGM, are subjected to type III.
Health complicatiosn of FGM include chronic pain, urinary and vaginal inections, obstetric problems, and complications from non-sterile performance of the procedure, as well as psychological problems. It should for this reason and others be clear that FGM should stop. It is an abuse of women that is unacceptable. Please get involved and spread the word about no tolerance for FGM.