Although we live in 21st century, some of the cases regarding gender inequality have not yet faded away. Sadly, some ethnic groups and countries believe that women are worth less than men and hence these women have to become accustomed to bizarre cultural practices. Caused by stigmas and myths, one harmful ritual, practiced mostly in western, eastern and northeastern regions of Africa is known as Female Genital Mutilation.
FGM or simply known as cutting is a practice of circumcising a girl or young women for non-medical reasons in order to reduce sexual desire. It is definitely a violation of the human rights of women because it has no health benefits and causes only harm. Women who have undergone FGM will endure immediate reactions such as severe pain and bleeding, and long-term consequences such as infertility and an increased possibility of newborn deaths.
This dangerous ritual still exists because people who belong to some conventional ethnic groups believe girls who are not circumcised are not clean and beautiful. Other surprising fact is that men won’t marry a woman who is too sexual; they accuse those women of being unfaithful to them. This ritual is inhuman and very degrading to women because no matter how painful and dangerous this can be, they still have to go through FGM.
Why these young women must experience violence just to satisfy society? Unfortunately for this case, a ritual is one thing that is strongly related to people and ethnic groups. It has been practiced for over hundred years and we know it’s not easy to change perceptions of people who are considered very conservative. However, we definitely can help and support these women to achieve their freedom by taking action against it. We should continually raise public awareness and keep spreading news about this issue. Moreover, counseling on FGM for both women who have and haven’t undergone FGM should be conducted more often.
(Images courtesy of Google)