Female Genital Mutilation Essay

1289 words - 6 pages

Female Genital Mutilation is also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision. Female genital mutilation is the action or practice of cutting of the clitoris and sometimes the labia . FGM has been documented mainly in Africa. It is estimated that between 100 million and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been circumcised. Procedures are usually carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. The procedure is occasionally done on adult women.
There are several types of FGM. Clitoridectomy is the partial or entire removal of the clitoris and prepuce . The clitoris is pulled and sliced while being held in between the thumb and index finger. Excision is the partial ...view middle of the document...

Girls who receive angurya cuts have tissue scraped from their vagina.
FGM is widely documented in Africa. Africa is the world’s second largest and second most inhabited continent. It is also the poorest and most undeveloped continent. The continent is about 11.7 square miles and it covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area. Africa has a population of 1 billion people. The population of Africa is the youngest among all the continents. Fifty percent of Africans are 19 or older.
Even though female genital cutting is mainly documented in Africa, its origins remain unclear.
"There's no way of knowing the origins of FGM, it appears in many different cultures, from Australian aboriginal tribes to different African societies," medical historian David Gollaher, president and CEO of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI), and the author of Circumcision, told Discovery News.
Infibulation has its roots in ancient Rome, where female slaves had fibulae through their labia to prevent them from getting pregnant. A fibulae is an ancient brooch. A brooch is an elaborate jewelry item created to be attached to clothing, used to hold them closed. Common belief is that the origins of FGM are in pharaonic Egypt. This would be supported by the present day term "pharaonic circumcision." Pharaonic relates to old Egyptian kings. Circumcision for males is documented but female circumcision is not.
"This was not common practice in ancient Egypt. There is no physical evidence in mummies, neither there is anything in the art or literature. It probably originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and was adopted here later on," Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, told Discovery News.
Greek geographer Strabo is considered to have been the first to document male and female circumcision. He visited Egypt around 25 B.C. Another statement was documented on Greek papyrus and dated 163 B.C. It was said that girls in Memphis, Egypt were circumcised when a dowry was given to the husband. This supported the theory that FGM started as a form of initiation of young women. Greek physician Aetios said the circumcision was necessary in the presence of “abnormally” large genitals. In ancient Egypt the labia majora was pulled toward the anus to seal the pudendal cleft . It is not known exactly why this was done but it is believed that its purpose was to prevent sexual violation. Nineteenth century European and American gynecologists would remove the clitoris to treat masturbation. It was believed that masturbation caused physical and mental disorders. The first documented clitoridectomy in the west was performed in 1822 by Karl Ferdinand von Graefe. He was a surgeon in berlin and it was performed on a teenage girl who was considered an “imbecile” who was masturbating.

Female genital cutting is seen as a cultural practice rather than a religious one. It...

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