Femalegenital cutting is the process of partially or completely removingthe external genitalia of young girls and women for nonmedicalreasons. The act is illegal in some countries while it is acceptablein others. The norm is quite predominant across the African stateswith many communities indulging in the same. Though some governmentshave banned this procedure, many communities practice the samewithout consent. The reasons behind women genital cutting vary acrossthe communities. Some depict it as a maturation state while otherssite prevention of diseases. Based on the video provided and outsideknowledge, this paper will provide an in-depth analysis of thepractice. It will dwell on the various assertions provided by theindividuals, cultural systems, economic structures, and genderinequality associated with the practice.
Thepractice of FGC sometimes, comprehended as a type of gender-basedabuse, can lead to indefensible concerns among the females yet, theyare still culturally entrenched traditions with multifacetedconnotations calling for morally and culturally thoughtful social andhealth service provisions. Intentions and connotations of FGC actionsmust be well comprehended before the inception of any policies thatforbid and condemn them. The form of FGC practices differs acrossnations and ethnic groups as well as in cultural communities.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGC can beclassified into four: type one denotes the total or partial removalof the clitoris. Apart from that, it may include extraction of theprepuce. Type 2 entails the full or partial abstraction of theclitoris together with the labia minora.
Itmay also include removal of the labia majora. Type 3 entails thenarrowing/stitching of the vaginal opening by introducing a coveringseal. Type 4 denotes to all other processes utilized to change thefemale genitalia based on non-medical aims such as cauterizingscraping, incising, piercing, pricking, and cauterizing the genitalregion [ CITATION Bil14 l 1033 ].
Accordingto Fuambai, female genital cutting is associated with women power. Assuch, women empowerment shapes their decisions. These sentiments arerather true from the cultural context of many African communities. Inmany societies, the tradition is meant to ensure chastity, control offemale sexuality, and honor of the given community. As exemplified byFuambai, women indulge in the practice to preserve their identity.She made a choice as a 21-year-old to follow the Sierra Leon cultureof womanhood primarily because it seemed interesting. As thestatistics show, approximately 94 percent of the females aged between15 and 59 have undergone the practice. It is evident from the ratesthat women make a conscious decision, unlike Ubah, who underwent thecut at a tender age of six. The women consent to the practice topreserve their group identity, the transition from one status levelto another i.e. girl to woman, marriage goals, and family honor [ CITATION Ins l 1033 ].
Thecultural systems primarily cause the variances in types. In otherwords, in cultures that want to preserve girl virginity, they wouldindulge in the more severe case that includes stitching. Forinstance, in Somalia, the women undergo the practice at tender ageslike six, seven, or eight. At such an age, the girls do not maketheir conscious choice. Fuambai’s sister underwent the practice ata tender age of eight. She did not understand the ceremony, yet sheunderwent the procedure. As such, the cultures can be misleading andinept since they do not achieve the intended purpose. In this case,the eight-year-old was supposed to join the women society, yet shedid not understand the culture [ CITATION Ins l 1033 ].
Accordingto Mansura Dopico, women who undergo infibulation face manychallenges, especially, in their sexual life. For instance, the firstsexual intercourse after marriage is quite painful. Women also facepsychological challenges that make them fear sexual intercourse. Dr.Ramsis Gayed dealing with a lot of Sudanese women explains that manywomen seek help on this matter. According to him, the women do notget orgasms. Ubah also illustrates how she was fearful of engaging insexual activities with the notion that she was different.
Experiencingfemale genital cut at tender ages is quite unethical. This is becausethe girls are not allowed to make their conscious decisions. Genderinequality is also quite predominant in these communities. Forinstance, as Dr. Ramsis Gayed states, women undergo the practice toplease their men. As such, even after delivering, doctors would sewthem to ensure they are tight. Otherwise, their men would marry otherwomen. Such a tradition is quite unfair to the women [ CITATION Ins l 1033 ].
Concernslinked to the FGC practices in the Western countries are notably ingray areas, comprising but not restricted to the wishes forre-infibulation of the vaginal canal after giving birth or notifyingthe courts on previous practices. Re-infibulation in medical contexthas been a regular practice in the western countries. It is oftenregarded as potential risk-reduction mechanism to lessen healthproblems related to probably risky conducts. Such event is claimed toprovide safer as well as culturally conventional alternatives thathave less psychological harm [ CITATION Ins l 1033 ].
Femalegenital cutting can also be consciously requested. In this case,women ask for Labiaplasty i.e. alteration of the size of the labia.Such clinical applications call for an improved cognizance of medicalexperts’ ethics and duties to offer the best care conceivable whileremaining thoughtful of one’s life background. They might beregarded by many to be against the professional health care ethics,but the scope to which re-infibulation establishes a gap of law isstill unclear in several Western countries. As such, the legislationcondemning the practice may not be adequate to solve ethical issuesfacing the medical practitioners even if it consistently regarded asan abuse of human rights [ CITATION Ins l 1033 ].
Fromthe discussion, it is clear that the motivations behind the practicevary. Some communities practice it to maintain virginity of theirgirls, whereas others do it for cosmetic reasons. Apart from that, itcan be done for medical reasons. Therefore, the motivation behind thepractice qualifies it as mutilation or preference. In other words,forcing a child to undergo FGC i.e. total cutting of the genitals canbe regarded as circumcision. As such, it contravenes the human rightsor most precisely amounts to child abuse. I disagree with Ubah’sassertions that mothers take their girls through the process fortheir good.
However,when adults make conscious choices to undergo the practice, it doesnot contravene the laws. As adults, females know the repercussions,gains, and extent of the practice. They are less stigmatized and donot suffer psychological torment like young girls. Nevertheless, thepractice is unethical according to religious contexts. Therefore, asJuliana Nkrumah states, it is imperative to understand the differentcultures that stimulate female genital cutting to make appropriatemeasures. As long as the women do not make forceful decisions basedon cultural systems, it does not contravene the human rights.
Bilkis Vissandjée, S. D. (2014). Female genital cutting (FGC) and the ethics of care: community engagement and cultural sensitivity at the interface of migration experiences. Journal of BMC Int Health Hum Rights.
Insight (Director). (n.d.). Female Genital Cutting Video Assignment [Motion Picture].