06 Feb 2019

Female genital mutilation: what it is, why it’s practiced, what damages it leads

On the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation it’s important to make known how and why these practices continue to be perpetrated in many societies, including Kenya’s one.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes the intentionally altered procedure, behavior of the total or provocative response to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Procedures for the health of girls and women, serious health problems, gynecological problems, menstrual, urinary, reactions of cysts and infections, promote the spread of diseases such as HIV / AIDS, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of neonatal death.



More than 200 million girls and women (most of the genital mutilation are mostly performed between childhood and 15 years) have gone through this ordeal. In Kenya, despite the prohibition of the law on female genital mutilation, according to the UN women 21% of women experience genital mutilation (http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/fr/countries/africa/kenya ). This figure is particularly high in the Maasai communities, where 73.2% of women are subjected to female genital mutilation.



These practices are extremely painful for girls, both mentally and physically. In addition to pain and serious consequences on health, it is difficult to think of long-term psychological problems, it is very difficult. Even practices are traditionally taken outside the health structures by traditional ritual leaders, without medical-health training, increasing the risk of complications.




Unfortunately, in many contexts female genital mutilation are social norms in all respects. Within some Kenyan communities, for example, circumcision is recognized as a rite of transition from childhood to adulthood and is desired as needed. In some cultures, it can be said that social security is conformed to what others do, such as the need to be socially accepted and the fear of being rejected by the community, they become very strong motivations for the perpetuation of the practice and for the unconscious inscription of girls who are practiced.

Education can play a crucial role in recognizing and accepting the harmful nature and the possible consequences of such practices. Awareness on the subject should be raised not only among girls, but also among young people, so that they are aware of the problems that a story can bring to women and that it is possible even without circumcision.