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Breaking the Silence – Ending Female Genital Mutilation
Published : Jun 14, 2024, 4:15 pm IST
Updated : Jun 14, 2024, 4:15 pm IST
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Breaking the Silence – Ending Female Genital Mutilation
Breaking the Silence – Ending Female Genital Mutilation

FGM violates human rights and must end. FGM is a form of child abuse. FGM has no place in 21st century. #StopFGM

What is Female Genital Mutilation and its Laws in India? FGM or Female Genital Mutilation is a cruel, harmful and illegal practice of cutting or sewing female child’s vagina to ensure her virginity for her future husband. It is a process where girls undergo partial or total removal of their external genitalia or other injury to their genital organs without non-medical reasons. It happens to female children from age of 0 to 15 in most parts of world including India. When a girl child is born or they’re in any age between 2-15, they are made undergo an operation by local women in which they tie the little girl with ropes and use unhygienic tools like knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades for operating on the little girl’s clitoris and labia at home. This operation is done without any antiseptic or anesthesia by these cruel people.

 

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They either cut the clitoris, the pleasure organ of women while getting intimate, or they also cut the labia along with clitoris or sew the vaginal opening tightly of little girls so they can’t get intimate with anyone else other than their husband before marriage. Acid is also thrown on their vaginas to keep them from getting intimate. It is even hard to imagine the pain of acid being thrown on their private parts without any anesthesia for someone who’s not going through it. This process of cutting the nerve ends and sensitive genital tissue causes extreme level of pain. Even the recovery period is extremely painful. Excessive bleeding (haemorrage ) can be caused if the clitoral artery or other blood vessels got cut by mistake, which is very common I most of the cases because the operation is being done by local women who are not professionals. When the vagina is stitched the husband himself opens the stitches on the wedding night and get intimate with her despite the extreme bleeding and pain.

 

FGM persists in some communities due to cultural, social, or religious beliefs. However, efforts are ongoing worldwide to raise awareness, educate communities about its harmful effects, and work towards its elimination. Many countries have also enacted laws to criminalize FGM and protect girls from undergoing this practice.

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is condemned internationally, with various legal frameworks addressing it. Internationally, conventions like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) advocate for its prohibition. In India, FGM is primarily associated with the Dawoodi Bohra community. The Indian legal system has taken measures to combat FGM, with the Supreme Court ruling it a violation of women's rights. Indian laws, including the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, criminalize FGM, imposing penalties such as imprisonment. Additionally, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has initiated awareness campaigns to educate communities about its harmful effects and promote abandonment. Despite legal strides, challenges persist in enforcement and cultural change, necessitating ongoing efforts to eradicate FGM nationally and align with global anti-FGM initiatives.

 

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Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a brutal practice that strips away the bodily autonomy and dignity of women and girls, often under the guise of cultural tradition. Unlike men, who are free to experience their bodies without such violent interference, women subjected to FGM endure immense physical pain and long-term health consequences. This practice perpetuates a cycle of gender inequality, sending a harrowing message that women's bodies are not their own to control. While men are allowed to grow and live without such fears, women are denied their basic human rights, their bodies altered irreversibly by a patriarchal society that values control over compassion. It is imperative to recognize FGM as not only a violation of human rights but also a deep-rooted symbol of the systemic oppression women face, and to fight fervently for the eradication of this practice to ensure true gender equality.

 

It has happened to 200 million women so far and every year it happens to additionally to 3 million gild children. And all this happens because husbands want a virgin bride.

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(The article is written by Yati Saluja. The views are those of the author)

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