FGM In Sudan

I think that we can all agree that Female Genital Mutilation is one of the most barbaric acts that human beings actually perform. It is stunning and shocking that this continues to this day in some African countries. According to the WHO female genital mutilation is defined as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. There are four stages of FGM ranging from type I (least severe) to type IV (most severe) and the medical consequences and risk factors increase along with these different types. For example, “Women with FGM typically report sexual dysfunction and dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and this becomes higher with type III FGM” [1]. The surprising aspect of FGM is the fact that the origins of this barbaric act vary vastly. Different communities in different countries perform female genital mutilation for reasons pertaining to their individual culture, so it’s difficult to pin down the exact reason why it is performed. In addition, it is common for the procedure to be done by birth attendants, midwives, or ‘circumcision operators’ and is completed by using certain knives and scissors and any sort of pain relief is not generally given to these girls [2]. On a good note, Sudan has been attempting to eliminate this act in the country, but poorer areas and rural areas do not receive the same education as more affluent and urban areas.  Overall, Female genital mutilation is a health and social hazard and stigma, the effects of which do not only affect its victims, but its repercussion reaches the other partner, the family and the community at large. It has to be condemned by all, and there must be a target in the coming few years to ban it at the level of all the African health authorities as well as the African governments.

[1] Sharfi, A.R.. “The Continuing Challenge of Female Genital Mutilation in Sudan”. African Journal of Urology, Vol. 19. Issue 3: September 2013. pp. 136-140. Viewed on August 6, 2014.

[2] “Background to FMG”. Information for Health and Child Protection Individuals. Viewed on August 6, 2014.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Tyler Lambert says:

    Female genital mutilation is a very barbaric act I must agree. A particularly troubling factor for me is the perceived “reasons” for such acts. Control over a women’s sexuality, hygiene, cultural identity, and religion have all been named a justifications for such acts. Anthropologists would examine this problem in a number of ways. An anthropologist would look at the cultural and social context behind FGM as well as the biological context. Individual cultures have different reasons for performing FGM so this would take anthropologists living among the specific cultures that perform FGM. This would allow for better understanding of the social, cultural, and religious justifications as well as the complications after FGM has been performed. Anthropologists would also study FGM biomedically, this would include the reason for FGM, as well as the procedures and clinics used during FGM. These are just some of the micro level strategies and methods that a medical anthropologist would use. One could also look at the government in these regions to prevent FGM from happening. You mentioned the health and social hazard FGM is. There are many implications on the community as a result of FGM. Education about the health risk FGM is a must for prevention. I agree with your opinion that there must be a target to ban as well as criminal implications.

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