Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 20: Female Genital Mutilation

Now I must admit that when I was making the Justice Drawing Challenge, I knew that this day would be one of the most difficult to draw; it's hard to know how to draw something like this without being vulgar, explicit, or dishonoring. But I myself was corrected in my understanding of what FGM actually is when I read up on it. So for me, this was a new topic of injustice that I was unaware of.

Female Genital Mutilation refers to the procedure involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs. The term covers a range of procedures, which are also referred to as female circumcision and introcision. "Among communities that practise FGM, the procedure is a highly valued ritual, whose purpose is to mark the transition from childhood to womanhood. In these traditional societies, FGM represents part of the rites of passage or initiation ceremonies intended to impart the skills and information a woman will need to fulfil her duties as a wife and mother (In Depth: Razor's Edge... Article)." The ultimate function of the practice, however severe the case, is to reduce the a woman's sexual desire and ensure her virginity.

There are many different reasons why FGM is to be considered an injustice but one of the primary reasons are the health related issues. Many women are subjected to serious infections with life-long consequences for both then and their children because of the procedure. The procedure leaves behind scar tissue, some girls more than other depending on the severity of the procedure, and this makes childbirth extremely painful and difficult; the scar tissue actual acts as an obstacle for the baby to pass through.

If a woman refuses to participate in the ritual she is ostracized from the community and is considered a child; she will never earn the rights, the roles, or the status of a woman. In practicing communities, there is no place for a woman who has not undergone the procedure.

For more information check out In Depth: Razor's Edge - The Controversy of Female Genital Mutilation

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