Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves an internationally recognized human rights violation. In Spanish legislation, it is also considered a form of gender violence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been mutilated.

This type of practice is carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Asia and, in a covert way, in European countries. Every year, Nearly four million girls worldwide are at risk of FGM.

Between the identified risk factors These include having origin in a country and ethnic group where this practice is allowed, belonging to a family in which a woman has already been mutilated, that the potential victim is going to travel to the country of origin and the existence of information on that displacement.

Causes and consequences

FGM includes all procedures aimed at the injury or partial or total removal of the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons. It includes partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora, narrowing of the entrance to the vagina, or any type of injury to the external genitalia.

The causes that are alleged to continue carrying it out are based on the supposed fact that it is a positive cultural tradition, but none of them has proven to be true. It has not been possible to prove that it has any benefit for the health of girls and women.

The causes that are alleged to continue carrying it out are based on the supposed fact that it is a positive cultural tradition, but none of them has proven to be true.

But the physical, psychological and social complications suffered by survivors have been verified. Physically, they suffer urinary problems, sexual dysfunctions, psychological disorders and depressionY reoccurrence of trauma at the time of delivery. All this will affect your quality of life.

In the worst case, it can lead to death due to the circumstances and the means with which it is carried out and it is counted on to deal with the complications it generates. All this supposes an estimated annual expenditure of about 1,400 million dollars or 1,300 million euros. If left unchecked, this cost will continue to rise in the coming years.

international rejection

For 25 years, international organizations such as the World Health OrganizationUnicef ​​and the United Nations Population Fund have launched actions to eradicate female genital mutilation. The European Parliament has also taken a position on this.

In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly considered that traditions such as this a serious threat to girls and women. A year later, the African Union banned any type of female genital mutilation in what is known as Maputo Protocol. And the UN Sustainable Development Goals contemplate the elimination of all harmful practices for women in target 5.3.

Some African countries went ahead, as is the pioneering case of Guinea in 1965. And from the 1990s, especially, many others have joined the ban. However, it is still allowed in several countries, such as Somalia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Chad, although half of the girls and women who have been mutilated live in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

From the eighties, and especially in the nineties, it was prohibited by law between the countries of Europe, America and Oceania. In Spain, it constitutes a crime of injuries, as it was collected in the reform of the Criminal Code carried out in 2003 (article 149). To all of this must be added the commendable work that a multitude of non-governmental organizations are carrying out, through actions of education, information and awareness.

There will be more victims

Thanks to the work carried out by the scientific community, today we know better what ablation consists of, how it is carried out, at what point in the life of the victims it is carried out, where it occurs, what its causes are and, above all, its consequences.

So our recent study It not only highlights the traumatic experience for the girls (today women) who suffered it, but also the fight they are carrying out to eradicate it.

FGM is perceived by the interviewees as physical and psychological torture, carried out in terrible hygienic conditions by people without training and whose consequences remain in the long term. They were subjected by decision of their relatives, as a consequence of inequality, subordination and power relations that are socially established.

Impotence, pain, suffering or anguish are some of the emotions that the interviewees experienced when exposed to a practice that marked their childhood and their sexuality for the rest of their lives.

Helplessness, pain, suffering or anguish are some of the emotions they experienced when exposed to a practice that marked their childhood and their sexuality for the rest of their lives. Some even grow up believing that their mutilated genitalia are normal, and are only aware that this is not the case when they go to a gynecological consultation.

All this has made women adopt a critical and committed attitude. Socially, more and more mothers and fathers are positioning themselves against it, but they have to bear the social pressure that is exerted so that girls are mutilated, especially when they travel to the places of origin where mutilations continue to be carried out.

Therefore, the women who were mutilated consider that coming together to tell their stories without fear to the rest of the world is of great importance. With this form of activism, they intend that fewer and fewer girls and future women have to suffer its consequences for life.

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