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Female Genital Mutilation

This barbaric practice is not some myth from the past, as many countries still practice this ugly practice today. Female Genital Mutilation is the collective name given to cultural practices that involve the partial or total cutting of healthy female genitalia.

  • The World Health Organization has categorized this practice into 4 subcategories- Clitordectomy, Excision, and Infibulation, along with various other forms of this practice. Clitordectomy is the partial or total removal of the female clitoris, and/or the prepuce. Exicision is an extension of this, with the removal of also the labia minora, with or without the excision of the labia majora. The most extreme form of this practice is Infilbultation, in which all external genitalia is removed, and the two sides of the vulva are stitched together. All other forms of this practice fall under the fourth category of other-which is all other harmful practices performed on the female genitalia for any purpose other than medical, such as pricking, piercing, cauterizing, and scraping any area of the female genitalia.
  • This mutilation is performed WITHOUT anesthetic

While there are obvious health consequences to this barbaric practice, there are also lifelong consequences, such as chronic infection, hemorrhages, severe pain during urination, menstruation, and sexual intercourse. There is an increased risk of complications during childbirth and an increased risk of newborn deaths. Besides just physical, there are numerous psychological effects to this disgusting practice. This practice is recognized internationally as a human rights violation, torture and extreme act of violence and discrimination against women and girls, and yet, for some reason, it is still being practiced today around the globe.

If there is any question in your mind as to why this would ever be done to an innocent woman or child, the very simple, disgraceful answer is control. Female Genital Mutilation is performed to control a women's sexuality and to ensure virginity until marriage and fidelity in marriage; creating an image of purity; and due to a disillusioned idea that mutilating a women's genitalia makes them more "beautiful" or "feminine"

Female Genital Mutilation is sometimes compared to male circumcision, yet there are no similarities. While male circumcision is often done shortly after that baby is born, the median age for Female Genital Mutilation is 12-16 years old. While circumcision is the removal of foreskin, Female Genital Mutilation is the intentional damaging of the female genitalia. The ideologies surrounding these two very different practices also vary greatly as well. Female Genital Mutilation is a patriarchal cultural tradition carried out with the intent of subjugating women and controlling their bodies. This practice is used to oppress women, reinforcing the perpetuation of their marginalization and inferior status within society.

As of the beginning of 2016, new data has revealed that around 513,000 girls within the United States alone, have either undergone or are at risk of Female Genital Mutialation

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Where is Female Genital Mutilation Practiced?

This barbaric practice still goes on today, and here is where

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Istar: A Testimony

My name is Istar I am 28 years old mother and a student. I would like to share my experience of under going FGM, this will be the first time I’ve ever written about my experience this will be the one chance the child within me voice will be heard.

I was 6 years old when it happened, all I know is that I was playing outside our house with other children who lived near by, I also remember a lot relatives and family friends where at the house a lot food and sweets were cooked that day but strangely my parents weren’t there, didn’t think much of it at the time.

The nightmare started as my younger sister was called in to the house by aunts I followed but was told to wait outside again didn’t think much of it at the time. One of my neighbour daughter who was playing with us came to me, “You must be excited” my response: what for? I didn’t know what she was talking about. “You will be a big girl now all you have to do is be very brave and don’t cry". I still didn’t understand what she meant. When she explained what was going to happen to me, all I wanted was my mom to come and rescue me , I ran so fast trying to hide in the house at the same time I can hear my little sister scream , I never heard such scream, even today when I shut my eyes I can hear her screaming.

"Get Istar it’s her turn" I could hear my aunt saying. I kept running around the house until I got caught and dragged to the table were I was surrounded by two of my aunts, one of our neighbour and two men I didn’t know who their were at the time but realised that one of them was the circumcisers well that’s what people call them if I had give them a title it would be the children’s butcher.

The other man grabbed hold of my legs trying to pull them apart; I fought him as much as I could, but I was only six years old, I had no energy left within me, when he succeeded, I remember him saying to me “Behave you silly girl and stop crying it doesn’t hurt” my lower part of my body was out of my control I tried to move my upper part of my body but my aunts held me down and stuffed big cloth in my mouth so I wouldn’t scream so loud, god that was all their were worried about. As this was happening all I wanted was my mother she was always there for me, WHY NOT THIS TIME?

When he was done I felt so ashamed that these people saw my private parts and these men actually touched it and hurt me. Brave girl Istar everybody said, I remember getting a lot of sweets, toys and money to congratulate me. At the time I thought you now part these people now and you are treated differently “The very special girl now”. Again as this was happening to me all I wanted was my mommy.

As I got older I’ve realised the damage FGM has caused me physically and mentally, I was led to believe I’ve had type1 but later in my early twenties realised I’ve actually undergone Type2, but the mental scar I carry till today it’s very difficult to explain I’ve blocked it out for many years pretended that it never happened but I could no longer ignore it especially after my beautiful little girl was born, I knew as a mother I couldn’t let that happened to my daughter but that meant facing the demons from the past.

Female Genital Mutilation has been criminalized in various areas around the world, but the fight is not over until a girl never again has to live in fear of being mutilated, humiliated, and most importantly, violated.


Everyone can contribute to the fight to end this cruel, ritualistic practice! Man or woman, we must come together to further pass legislation to not only end but criminalize and punish those who practice and perform Female Genital Mutilation. We must provide health care and examinations, physical and psychological to victims of Female Genital Mutilation.

So many people around the world don't even know that this practice exists. The first step is to get the word out. Talk about it with friends, family, classmates, the man sitting next to you on the transit. Anyone. One more person aware is one step closer to ending this practice once and for all.

The taboo must be broken, the practice of Female Genital Mutilation must no longer be kept in the dark. People must know about this horrific practice before a change can be made. When we stand together, we can make a change, and impact this world for future generations.

Supporting organizations that actively fight to end Female Genital Mutilation is yet another step you can take to help win this battle. Whether it be through volunteering, speaking up in your community, or donating, any help is a big help.

To find out more about organizations helping to fight the battle against Female Genital Mutilation, click here.

Female genital mutilation