Fri. Mar 22nd, 2019

FGM: Some FACTS About the Painful Rite of Passage for Girls

The news are all over, the cries can be heard from far. The painful cries and wails of our young girls. For so long they have cried in silent but it is time they came out to stop this brutality. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is the ritual of cutting or removing some of or all of the external female genitalia is regarded as a rite of passage in some communities for girls but the truth is that it is brutal.

There are four types of FGM

  1. Clitoridectomy – The partial or total removal of the clitoris.
  2. Excision – This is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the Labia Majora.
  3. Infibulation – This is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. It can be through cutting or repositioning the labia minora or labia majora through stitching with or without removal of the clitoris.
  4. Harmful procedures for non-medical purposes such as pricking, piercing and incising.

I had the opportunity to interview some people from the Maasai and Pokot community and according to some of them, their grandmothers and mothers went through it and never died. One of them even went to the extent of asking who the girls are to avoid going through the ritual

They fail to understand that these are the young girls who don’t want to be circumcised and get married as they understand that there is a bigger picture of life on the other side of the hill.

Promote Premarital Virginity and Fidelity

Some girls were scared to open up but I came across this amazing lady who opened up about the complications she went through during birth and it was a traumatizing incident. It was made clear to me that the reason they are circumcised is to promote premarital virginity and marital fidelity.

It is believed when the libido is reduced it helps resist extramarital sexual acts. Any girl who goes through circumcision is now a woman ready for marriage. The transition is sacred. The common type of circumcision among Kenyan communities is clitoridectomy, whereby there is the partial or total removal of the clitoris.

Why would they not fight circumcision then?

The fear of being rejected, despised and secluded is the reason many women in the communities that practice the rite are quiet. The social pressure is high and it goes to a point where the girl must be forced if she refuses.

Crying or wailing is also seen as a sign of weakness and the girls are advised to endure it in silence. It takes at utmost three months to heal depending on the diet observed and how well one is being taken care of. Now there is civilization, education that gives the girls the courage , strength and confidence they need to resist.

Are there any other options?

Previously, getting help from local structures of power and authority within the community was like a cow taking itself to the slaughterhouse. “How can one seek help from the people who encourage and support it?” one of the people I talked to quip. No wonder most of them run away from home, feeling suffocated and that everyone is against them. However, things are changing with every passing day for the better.

Complications of FGM

The locals believe those who develop complications were circumcised by quacks. According to them, professionals don’t destroy, they transform the girls into women. However, medical practitioners argue that there are complications associated with this vice. The short-term complications include severe pain, excessive bleeding, genital tissue swelling and fever among others. The long-term effects may encompass urinary problems, vaginal problems, risks at childbirth, scar tissue and keloid and psychological problems among others.

Say NO to FGM, let’s save the girl child.

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