Female Genital Mutilation Classes

June 2016

Severe pain, excessive bleeding (hemorrhage), genital tissue swelling, fever, infections e.g. tetanus, Aids, fistula, injury to surrounding genital tissue, shock, still-births, death….

These are some of the risks young girls and women face when they are forced to undergo ‘the cut.’ Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has no health benefits for girls and women. FGM is a global violation of the human rights of girls and women. FGM violates a female’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as the right to life when the procedure results in death.

At the Choice Club meeting we held at Karen C. Girls School on the 16th of June, the topic for the day was FGM. During the meeting, we looked at the dangers of the practice; the girls in our Club were very sad to learn about what happens to their peers in certain communities.

Valvisions believes in delivering relative and correct information to our Choice Club members when we teach on women’s health. In lieu of that objective, we solicited the help of a nurse who attended the June meeting and who delivered a very candid talk with the girls. The nurse presented the girls with photos of the female anatomy the way God intended it to be, whole, healthy and beautiful. Afterwards, she showed another picture of the same anatomy, this one violated by ‘the cut. ’ The look on the girls’ faces was enough to tell the story: they did not like what they saw!

Cultural practices rooted in a set of beliefs, values as well as cultural and social behavioral-patterns that govern the lives of people in a society, all contribute to the prehistoric practice of FGM. FGM is seen as part of a girls’ initiation into womanhood and as an important part of a community’s’ cultural heritage and/or tradition. There are many myths associated with ‘the cut.’ One being, for example, that ‘the cut’ will enhance fertility; another- that a female who is ‘not cut’ is not clean or that an ‘un-cut female is witch-like. These kinds of myths serve to perpetuate the practice.

The nurse, who spoke during the Choice Club Meeting, works at a Medical Clinic where she helps deliver babies. She shared personal experiences about what she has faced with women who have been ‘cut,’ and who have come to the Clinic to deliver their babies. The nurse narrated the horror these women go through, the unspeakably painful labor they experience. Most of the women, she shared, have to be operated on in order for their baby to be born. These women often cannot have normal delivery and must have caesarian births. Many women who have ‘been cut’ die in the delivery room; many babies die before viable delivery.

The nurse urged the girls to be a voice against this outdated practice that has stolen the childhood of too many girls. Cultural adherence has no place when it is used to condone violence against persons, male or female. Behavior can change when people understand the hazards of certain practices and when they realize that it is possible to give up harmful practices without giving up the meaningful aspects of their culture.

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