On Friday the 24th of November, 2017, the world marked the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most wide spread persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. There are numerous forms of violence against women in the world today ranging from rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dowry murder, early marriage femicide, female genital cutting, Honor killing etc.
In this context, female genital cutting is to be shed more light on as it has become so prevalent in Nigeria that it has become a source of concern to women and girls in Nigeria today.
Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genital or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons. FGM/C is a deeply entrenched social norm. Communities practice FGM/C in the belief that it will ensure a girl’s proper marriage, chastity, beauty and family honour. Some also associate it with religious belief, although no religious scriptures require it.
The practice is such a powerful social norm that families have their daughters cut even when they are aware of the harm it can cause on girls, a traditional practitioner, usually a woman, performs FGM/C often without any form of anesthesia or analgesia using non-sterile instruments such as scissors, razor blades or broken glass. FGM/C has serious implications for the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women. The effects of FGM/C depend on a number of factors, including the type performed, the expertise of the practitioner, the hygiene conditions under which it is performed, the amount of resistance and the general health condition of the girl/woman undergoing the procedures. Complications may occur in all types of FGM/C.
Immediate complications include series pain, shock, hemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissue, wound infection, urinary infection, fever and septicemia. Hemorrhage and infection can be severe enough to cause death. In fact, these account for the frequent deaths associated with FGM/C in Nigeria today. If families were to stop practicing on their own they would risk the marriage prospects of their daughters, family’s status and eventual forceful imposition of FGM/C on their daughter.
Religious leaders, NGOs, WHO and all at the helm of affair’s should look into this recurring cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society and help bring an end to this ugly and obsolete practice on our Nigeria girls and women.