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This is the account of Waris Dirie, who resides in the United States and was a victim of female genital mutilation at seven years of age in her native country, Somalia.
The next thing I felt was my fleshâ€¦being cut away. I heard the sound of the dull blade sawing back and forth through my skin. When I think back I honestly can't believe that this happened to me. I just sat there as if I were made of stone, telling myself the more I moved around, the longer the torture would take. Unfortunately, my legs began to quiver on their own accord, and shake uncontrollably, and I prayed, Please, God, let it be over quickly. Soon it was because I passed outâ€¦ (Epstein) Excellent hook!
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons" ("Female" World). Female genital mutilation is an utterly atrocious practice that causes severe and lifelong medical problems and undoubtedly violates the human rights of millions of females each year. Female genital mutilation should definitely be outlawed worldwide. Strong, clear case claim
indent Female genital mutilation is primarily practiced in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. However, there are an escalating number of cases being found in Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States Note that you only have to put the citation at the end of the paraphrase if they are all on the same page. If the paragraph changes, then you cite again. These procedures are usually performed with tools that are very inadequate such as razors blades, tin lids, scissors, kitchen knives, and pieces of glass ("Female" Stop). In rural areas these procedures are carried out by traditional midwives without any medical training in huts designed for the practice, in bushes, or in female's house (Keita and Blankhart). The procedure is usually performed without the use of anesthetics or antiseptics . In urban areas, where families tend to have more money, the procedure is done by doctors, nurses, or trained midwives in a clinic . Less than ten percent of mutilations occur this way (Lightfoot-Klein 36).
Female genital mutilation is enormously detrimental to a female's health, often causing medical problems that last a life time. The immediate effects that follow the procedure are horrendous. These affects include severe pain, shock, hemorrhage, and ulceration to the genital area ("Female" Stop). The most common medical problem is infections (Gruenbaum 4). Infections of the wound are very common because the instruments that are used are usually not sterilized (Greunbaum 4). There were twenty-one females, age nine to fourteen, that had to be hospitalized in Kenya on October 21, 2001 as a result of infections from forced genital mutilations carried out with unsanitary knives (Carnell). This is ridiculous that children are being robbed of their innocence by such horrific acts of violence. Victims of female genital mutilations are also subjected to chronic urinary tract infections ("Female" Stop 3). These infections are caused by retention of urine resulting from the disruption in the flow of urine due to the scar tissue that heals over the urethra ("Female" Stop 3). Chronic urinary tract infections can damage the kidneys over a period of time. These chronic infections have problems with their menses due to the narrow openings left for the flow of menstrual blood. Menstrual blood is then backed up causing reproductive tract infections which can lead to infertility ("Female" Stop 3). There was a case in Sudan in which a fifteen-year-old female was suspected to be pregnant because she had never menstruated (Gruenbaum 5). However, it was discovered that the girl had such a small opening that her menses had been totally blocked and an incision had to be made to release the putrid blood (Gruenbaum 5). Female genital mutilation also causes tribulations with pregnancy. Obstructed labor is the most serious complication of infibulations (Gruenbuam 5). Scar tissue can hinder the opening of the vagina making it difficult for the baby to emerge (Gruenbuam 5). Women who suffer from infibulations have to be cut for their babies to emerge, and then sewn back up after birth (Gruenbuam 5). This obviously adds to the pain and stress of labor and delivery. Vaginal urinary tract infections are major factors in miscarriages (Greunbuam 5). Chronic pelvic infections are a major factor in fertility cases of circumcised women (Grenbuam 5). This steals the joy of a woman to reproduce, one of our most fascinating capabilities. Other medical problems related to FGM include, but are not limited to, cysts and abscesses, keloid scar formation, septicemia and delayed wound healing (Elgaali). Female genital mutilation causes health problems that its victims would probably never have experienced otherwise. It is not fair for these human beings to have to live in constant deteriorating health. It is difficult to imagine that there are women and girls actually living in such terrible conditions.
The practice of female genital mutilation is also a violation of one's human rights. Human rights are those rights that are guaranteed to every member of the human race. One basic human right is the freedom to choose. Most females undergo female genital mutilation between the ages of six and fourteen (Epistein 2). These are babies as young as seven days old who have undergone the practice ("Female" World). These are ages where females are too young to make their own decisions on whether or not to have the procedure performed. According to Fatou Jallow, a twenty-two year old from Ghana, the purpose of the cutting is to recognize the female as a woman, so when it is performed on babies the procedures then loses the purpose the ancestors set for it to occur. Most of these young girls are completely unaware of what is going to happen to them prior to the mutilation (Keita and Blankhart). One element of human rights is the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is interrupted for victims of female genital mutilation. A woman's wedding night is perhaps one of the most joyful times in her life. However, most female genital mutilation victims are terrified because painful intercourse awaits them. For intercourse to take place, scar tissue that has healed over the vagina has to be cut open for the allowance of penetration ("Female" Stop 4). There have been a number of women who reported serious injuries due to unskillful cutting by their husbands (Female" Stop 4). This makes sex very painful and sometimes impossible. For many women sex remains painful. Also, the clitoris is the main female sex organ. Sex with your husband is supposed to be an enjoyable experience; conversely, with the absence of the clitoris women have less sexual stimulation which can make sex undesirable. Sex is supposed to be one of the more pleasurable things in life. However, many women will never experience this pleasure because their bodies have been brutally mutilated. Another component of human rights is the right to live free from torture. Female genital mutilation is a form of torture. Torture is to inflict extreme pain, to cause someone mental or physical anguish, to twist or distort something into an unnatural form. Given the definition, these females are clearly being tortured. Torture is erroneous, immoral, and no one deserves it for any reason. This is the testimony of Hannah Koroma of Sierra Leone. check your paragraphing in this section; when the topic changes, start a new paragraph
I was genitally mutilated at the age ten of ten. I was told by my late grandmother that they were taking me down to the river to perform a certain ceremony, and afterwards I would be given a lot of food to eat. As an innocent child, I was lead like a sheep to be slaughtered. Once I had entered the secret bush, I was taken to a very dark room and undressed. I was blindfolded and stripped naked. I was then carried by two strong women to the site for the operation. I was forced to lie flat on my back by four strong women, two holding tight to each leg. Another woman sat on my chest to prevent my upper body from moving. A piece of cloth was forced in mouth to stop my screaming. I was then shaved. When the operation began, I put up a big fight. The pain was terrible and unbearable. During this fight I was badly cut and lost blood. All of those who took part in the operation were half drunk with alcohol. Others were dancing and singing and worst of all had stripped naked. I was genitally mutilated with a blunt penknife.
After the operation, no one was allowed to aid me walk. The stuff they put on my wound stank and was painful. These were terrible times for me. Each time I wanted to urinate, I was forced to stand upright. The urine would spread over the wound and would cause fresh pain all over again. Sometimes I had to force myself not to urinate for fear of terrible pain. I was not given any anaesthics in the operation to reduce my pain, nor any antibiotics to fight against infection. Afterwards, I haemorraged and became anaemic. This was attributed to witch craft. I suffered a long time from acute vaginal infections. ("Female" Stop 6-7).
There are many reasons given for the necessity of female genital mutilation. The most frequently given defense for the practice is that it is simply tradition (Lightfoot-Klein). Traditions and customs are merely not questioned because doing so would be respectful to the ancestors. In cultures where FGM is practiced, a large portion of people's lives are governed heavily by traditions. In case study, performed by Daman Keita and David Blankhart, the women were unanimous in affirming that tradition was why they continued the practice (5). Devout Muslims who carry out the procedure give religious explanations as to why it is done (Elgaai). Women are the primary supporters of the practice. An Egyptian woman in reference to their daughters said, "Of course I shall have them circumcised exactly as their parents, grandparents, and sisters were circumcised. This is our custom ("Female" Stop 5). Many cultures believe that female genital mutilation is the only way to suppress a woman's natural promiscuity (Gruenbuam 33). There are some practitioners who believe that the clitoris will harm the baby during childbirth and/or harm the man during sex "Female" Stop 7). Other reasons include, but are not limited to, the assurance that a female will remain a virgin until marriages, to ensure the female will marry (Egaali), to enhance sexual stimulation for the women's husband, to promote cleanliness ("Female" World).
While reasons given for the perpetuation of female genital mutilation are lucid to those who practice it, they are ludicrous to those who are knowledgeable about the female anatomy. Although tradition and custom are very important factors in the lives of those perform FGM, it does not justify torture. In the Islamic religion, there are not any references from their holy book, the Koran, that suggest FGM is a religious practice (Egaali). Furthermore, female genital mutilations predate Islam (Egaali). These people are clearly, is informed about their own religion. It is factual that women are the main supporters of the practice. However, they do because of lack of education on the female genital anatomy had the risk involved FGM. In a documentary video focused on FGM, there was a woman who had strong beliefs in FGM and was planning to have her daughters circumcised. After the woman watched an informative video on female anatomy and health risk involved with a female genital mutilation, she and husband altered their views and decided not to have their daughters mutilated. This shows that these women are making uninformed decisions. The more factual information these people have, the more they stay away from the practice. Jallow stated that since she grew up n the city, her parents were educated and therefore did not have her mutilated. Jallow also stated that because of the education she received, she refuses to have her daughters mutilated. The explanations that FGM is done to increase the pleasure of female's husband is absurd because in a community based study, Sex where a mutilated woman is more complicated and sometimes impossible. Another reason why women support FGM is because in most cultures that practice it they have no other choice. If they refuse or oppose FGM, they are shunned from their communities and looked down upon. In some cultures, this even ruins the woman's chances getting married in societies where being a home maker is the only job available to females. There is not any evidence to support that women are naturally promiscuous. The issue of virginity is an important one but should be the woman's choice as proclaimed by her human rights. Female genital mutilation actually causes more problems for pregnancy and childbirth as was discussed earlier in the paper. There are not any reasons that could possibly rationalize torture.
Female genital mutilation had affected between 100 and 140 million females and an additional two million females per year will be subjected to its wrath ("Female" World) Female genital mutilation clearly has adversely affects on health and its violation of human rights. There are some organizations that are currently working toward the worldwide abolition of FGM. However, it is going to be difficult to alter the minds of the people who firmly believe in this cause. There needs to be more educational programs on female anatomy and sexuality incorporated into the lives of young people in communities that practice FGM. However the change is made, there is one undisputable fact and that is that it needs to be change.