Circumcision, Abuse, and Mutilation

What types of abuse do women face?

What is actually happening to women all over the world?

There are 4 types of female genital mutilation, or FGM. Each type has varying severity, Types 1 and 4 being the least severe and types 2 and 3 being the most severe. However this is not to say that types 1 and 4 are mild in any way ("Female Genital Mutilation"). Women also face problems with honor killings (a type of murder), rape, and physical or mental abuse (Doucleff). All of these issues can lead to health problems including issues with or inability to urinate, delivering underweight babies, death, and many more. (Doucleff). So if FGM and female circumcision have no health benefits, then why are these issues, as well as abuse towards women in general, still a problem today?

What types of FGM are there? What types of abuse do women face?

FGM, abuse and honor killings

There are 4 main types of FGM, or Female Genital Mutilation. Type 1 is called a Clitoridectomy and consists of the clitoris being removed. Type 2 is called Excision and consists off parts of the labia and clitoris being partially or completely removed. The amount of damage done changes depending on the areas it is practiced in. In some areas of the world people remove the the labia majora and minors as well as the clitoris, some areas only remove the labia minora. Type 3, or Infibulation consists of the labia being moved so that the vaginal opening is much smaller. Often times this lead to issues with urination as well as causes infections if there is not a big enough area left open. Type 4 is any other damage done the the female genitalia for non-medical reasons (UNFPA).

A lot of societies all over the world are plagued with problems like rape, domestic violence, and in some cases, honor killings. What could perhaps be considered the most extreme of these issues is honor killings. When a woman or young girl is murdered by her family for the purpose of renewing her family's "honor" it is considered an honor killing. Honor killings are practiced mainly by Muslim people. If a woman could be considered dishonorable, or has somehow brought shame to her family she is in danger. A woman could bring shame to her family by marrying a person whom her family has not arranged for her to marry, talking to men whom she is not instructed to talk to, dressing in a way that her family deems inappropriate, anything that a woman's family does not agree with or finds offensive could be a means to perform an honor killing (Mahmud). Rape and domestic violence are issues that many woman all over the world face. All types of abuse, whether towards children, females, or males is harmful.

Where is FGM and female abuse practiced?

Because there are so many different forms of abuse towards females that are practiced, and for so many different reasons, there isn't an exact area that can be pin-pointed for abuse towards women. A lot of cases of FGM have been reported in the "horn" of Africa, several countries in the Middle East, and some "westernized" areas like Western Europe and North America (UNFPA). In regards to honor killings and abuse towards women in general, the question is not really where, but who. Abuse like this is a problem all over the world, not in a concentrated area (Doucleff). I think it is more important to realize that most of the women who are abused are abused by spouses or family members (Doucleff).

The BIG question: Why is FGM and abuse towards females practiced?

Usually FGM is practiced in order to preserve a girl's honor. A lot of the things that people want to prevent from happening by cutting or mutilating women have to do with sexual behaviors. One reason for performing a Clitoridectomy could be wanting to limit a woman's sexual pleasure. A reason for Infinulation could be to prevent a woman from having sex before marriage. Most of the reasons people cut women's genitlia has to do with things like these. Other reasons could be religious. Some people believe that FGM is a part of the Karan. However, FGM is not a part of the Islamic religion (UNFPA).

Honor killings and abuse could occur for any reason. Honor killings are performed to renew a family's honor. These take places when people want to bring honor to their family. Some people try to justify honor killings by saying that they are condoned by their religion, or more specifically Sharia. This however, is not valid in a court of law (Mahmud). In a lot of Middle Eastern countries rape and domestic violence are a sign of power over women. Because women are not as valued in certain cultures, this allows things like rape and abuse to be overlooked. One reason for this being that Islamic laws condone such violence (Mahmud).