What Is Female Genital Mutilation
Medical News Today 16 February 2012
Female genital mutilation, also known as FGM refers to all procedures which partially or completely remove the external female genitalia. FGM also includes any other injury to a woman's or girl's genitalia for reasons other than medical ones. In most parts of the world, FGM is done by non-medical practitioners who also attend childbirths and carry out male circumcisions. According to WHO (World Health Organization), over 18% of all female genital mutilation procedures are carried out by health care professionals in clinical setting, a trend which appears to be growing.
Virtually every country in the world agrees that female genital mutilation is a violation of a female's human rights. It is seen as an extreme form of discriminating against females in the community. As most procedures are carried out on young girls, it is also a violation against children's rights.
According to WHO:
"(female genital mutilation also) violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death."
The World Health Organization informs that there are four main types of female genital mutilations:
- Clitoridectomy - the clitoris is partially or completely removed. The clitoris (see picture) is the most sensitive erogenous zone of the human female, and the main cause of her sexual pleasure. It is a small erectile part of the female genitalia. Upon being stimulated, the clitoris produces sexual excitement, clitoral erection, and orgasm.
- Excision - the clitoris and labia minora are partially or completely removed. It may also include the removal of the labia majora. "Labia" refers to the lips that surround the vagina. (see picture)
- Infibulation - the vaginal opening is narrowed; a covering seal is created. The inner or outer labia are cut and repositioned. This procedure may include (or not) the removal of the clitoris.
- Other - procedures not listed above which damage the female genitalia and are not carried out for medical pursposes. This may include cauterizing, scraping, incising, pricking or piercing the genital area.