Female Genital Mutilation
In addition, every year, an estimated 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, the majority of whom are cut before they turn 15 years old.
These unsanitary conditions can lead to the spread of HIV and infections of the genitalia and surrounding areas. Anesthetics are rarely used and relatives must hold down the female screaming in pain while she is being mutilated. On account of this severe pain the female usual goes into shock, the massive blood loss does not help either. Female genital mutilation normally causes a hemorrhage in the genital area. The cutting of the clitoral artery causes the hemorrhage and massive blood loss. Moreover, women will feel pain while urinating and will remain fearful of urinating for a long time. Women will also suffer from persistent pelvic infections.
An analysis of the countries where FGM is common such as Egypt, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Sudan indicate a strong adherence to Islam. Islam as practiced in these countries limit the role of women in the society. However, the linkage of FGM to Islam and these religions is a misleading justification. Saudi Arabia and Libya are examples of Islamic countries but do not practice the FGM as practiced in Egypt. In addition, African religions, however diverse, have fully embraced Christianity, which for the most part, rules out the role of FGM as an initiation to womanhood (Caldwell &Orubuloye, 2000). Rachelle Casman (2007) argues that FGM ought to be analyzed in respect to cultural relativism. According to her, westerners championing for the abolishment of FGM often forget that human values are not universal. In order to understand the concept of FGM and its symbolic meaning to the African culture, one ought to step into the culture and explore the meaning without ethnocentrism (p. 1). This way, westerners would be seen as self-imposing western values on a people, but fighting a practice on the grounds of its health risks or its disobedience to universal human rights. In this respect, FGM becomes threatening to the lives of millions of women and an inhibition to the success of the movement for equality between women and men. Understanding the concept of FGM from this perspective requires that cultural relativism becomes a cornerstone in the study of Female Genital Mutilation (p. 3). The concept of cultural relativism provides an argument that human values differ across societies and should be responded to while taking consideration of the differences. Female Genital Mutilation is an example of one of the differences.
Ben-Ari, Nirit. “Changing tradition to safeguard women.” Africa Renewal. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2012.
Caldwell, John, I. Orubuloye, and Pat Caldwell. “Female Genital Mutilation: Conditions of Decline.” Population Research and Policy Review Vol. 19.No. 3 (2000): pp. 233-254. Print.
Cassman, Rachelle. Fighting to Make the Cut: Female Genital Cutting Studied within the Context of Cultural Relativism. New York: Northwestern University School of Law, 2007. Print.
Momoh, Comfort. Female Genital Mutilation. London: Radcliffe Publishing, 2005. Print.
Monagan, Sharmon Lynnette. “Patriarchy: Perpetuating the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation.” Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences Vol 2,.No 1 (2010): 160-181. Print.