Worldwide, an estimated 130 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation. At least two million women a year are "at risk" of undergoing some form of the procedure. These numbers equal out to approximately 6,000 women at risk per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Female Genital Mutilation as all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. Female circumcision is another term for the procedure as well.
Part I: History & Types of Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been an ongoing worldwide debate. Awareness as well as legislative activity have had an incredible amount of benefiting effect. However, it's been around for so long that its history is hard to determine. Although evidence of FGM can be found dating back several thousands of years where Egyptian women mummies have been found mutilated, the specific origin of FGM is obscured by time. It's practice has been cited in almost thirty African nations. In addition, the proof of FGM has been seen in the middle east and to a lesser extent, in parts of Asia. Most often, the historic reasons cited are marital fidelity, controlling a women's sex drive, and "calming" a woman's personality and hygiene. More modern justifications for this procedure are custom and tradition. Some tribes and groups maintain and preserve their cultural identity by continuing the practice. Religion is also cited but it is important to note that FGM is a cultural, not religious practice. Although practiced by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and members...
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... 80-90% infibulation predominates, some excision
Tanzania 10% excision, infibulation
Togo 12% excision
Uganda 5% clitoridectomy, & excision
Dorkenoo, Efua.(1995) Cutting the Rose: Female Genital Mutilation: The practice and its prevention. London, Minority Rights Group.
Walker, Alice.(1993) Warrior Marks, 1st edition. New York, Hardcourt Brace Publishing.
Rising Daughters Aware: http:/www.fgm.org
Amnesty Organization: http:/www.amnesty.org
National & International Legislation on FGM: http:/www.fgmnetwork.org
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