Today is not just any old Friday; it is February 6th which means it is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. People around the globe are speaking out against this outdated, barbaric practice forced upon young women in some African and Middle Eastern countries. Today, over 125 million women and girls are affected by this cruel custom.
If you’re not familiar with this practice, essentially it is a female circumcision that can be done in several ways. It is a gruesome act of removing the clitoris with a razor, sometimes removing the labia as well, or sewing the labia together leaving a small opening for menstruation. This is usually done around the age of 10, before the girl begins menstruating. Children die from loss of blood or infection.
Once the girl marries, this act proves to create more issues than just health. Most women, as you can imagine have issues making love to their husbands, and they definitely are not enjoying it. If they become pregnant, most have trouble delivering the child and must have surgery; there is also a very high death rate during birth. The old custom affects the females throughout her life and the cycle perpetuates from generation to generation.
I first became aware of this practice in 1992 after reading Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, the sequel to her award winning novel The Color Purple. The story focuses on Tashi, the wife of Celie’s son Adam. Tashi chooses to have the procedure in her teens, because she is torn between her African culture and American culture. Eventually she must seek psychiatric help to deal with the trauma sustained by this mutilation. This story touched my heart, and the memory stayed with me when I met a young lady in person who was a victim of FGM. The lady was in her early 30s, and was still psychologically traumatized by her experience even after she had surgery to correct the procedure.
Below I am posting a video about this act. WARNING: This video contains a graphic scene of a young Ethiopian girl being mutilated. I would not suggest it for the faint at heart. Usually I would not post such shocking videos, however I am a firm believer that you must see it to believe it.
Now you see why we must insist on eradicating this monstrous custom from the world. I hope you will support the effort to break this generational curse. #ENDFGM
UPDATE: Since I first wrote this post, the graphic video has been removed from Youtube, so I decided to add a different video that is far less shocking. However, you will hear the accounts of several women who are victims of FGM. Please take a look: