Female Genital Mutilation
A Violation of the Rights of the Girl Child.
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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a genital operation performed on females at a very young age or before they reach adolescent. It involves the cutting of the clitoris or labia minora (the inner lips) and often the labia majora (the outer lips) and sewing the vulva, leaving just a tiny opening for urine and menstrual flow. In this case, instruments such as rusted blades, knives, broken bottles are used for the operation.
Despite it being illegal in Ghana, FGM is common in some parts of Northern Region. People believe the purpose of FGM is to reduce sexual desires in a girl until she is married. It is also believed to protect a woman’s virginity and keep her ‘clean,’ for her husband. Last but not least, others link FGM to religion and traditional culture. For some, it is a deep rooted cultural practice that has been imbedded in societies.
FGM is outdated, dangerous, barbaric and traumatic for the victim. It should be abolished for a number of reasons. First of all, it is a health hazard as there is a great risk of infection within the reproductive system which could potentially result in infertility, tetanus and other severe infections. This is due to the use of unsterilized instruments.
Secondly, difficulty in child birth is very common for women who have suffered from FGM. It makes having a natural delivery very difficult due to the sewing of the vulva. In some cases, this causes severe tearing and women can bled out and die, in others the baby gets stuck as there is nowhere for it to go.
FGM leads to a loss of sexual sensitivity. The clitoris is the most sensitive part of the female body and its removal deprives women of any sexual enjoyment during intercourse with her husband. This can threaten the stability of the marriage as sex is an important part of a healthy relationship.
Last but not least, it a violation of the rights of the girl. The consent of the girl is not sought or considered and it if often done without the knowledge of the girl. In some cases, girls have to be physically held down for the procedure to be done. There is rarely any medication provided and the pain can sometimes cause girls to pass out.
FGM violates the rights of the girl child under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. It has also been condemned by the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Girl Child and has no justification in modern society. There is no biological or medical justification for the practice and it is not longer acceptable to pass it off as a cultural practice.