Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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Female Genital Mutilation by Ipinlaye Oluwakamiye

It’s funny how language makes things abstract or awfully polite.  This female genital mutilation is a very mild way of describing the act of damaging, disfiguring not just the appearance but the biological composition of the vagina.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Personally, I am strongly of the opinion that we should not cloak the truth with words because it will hide the gravity of the content in our message. Who thought this up? Some other people will say female circumcision. These languages used have not done enough justice to relate the cruelty and severity of the harm done by this act.


Female genital mutilation is predominant in the developing countries with several millions of victims each year. Surprisingly this trend started from the Westas an attempt to manage masturbation or “self-help”.


According to Samar A. Farage in The vulva anatomy, physiology by M.A Farage and H.I Maibach, there are three types of mutilation widely recognized by authorities. The Sunna is a type of mutilation that involves the removal of the skin that covers the tip of the clitoris; this can include part or total removal of the clitoris.


The second type is partly or completely removing the clitoris together with the labia majora (the two outer folds of the vulva) and labia minora (the two inner folds).


The third type of mutilation is the most intense; here the labia are fastened or sewn together to prevent intercourse, leaving a small opening for menstrual blood and urine. Any of these alterations to the female genital is of severe harm.


These alterations limit the sexuality of a girl even before she comes into full understanding of her body. It is like uprooting the root of a tree and leaving the trunk to survive, which everyone knows is cruel. The trunk might survive and grow again but it will remain scarred. No scar can be permanently erased, for the memory will still retain it even after healing.


Mutilating girls and women who have no knowledge of the harm being done on them is terrible because you deprive them of fully understanding and experiencing the full power of the vagina. We can also argue for the male circumcision too but the fact remains that more harm is done to the female sexuality.


Be it Sunna or any other type of alteration, it reduces the sexuality of a woman. Although this culture or tradition that does not belong to us is in place to actually limit the sexuality of the woman because the very few that discovered that there is power in the vagina have decided to hide this knowledge from others.


Recently, a news channel broadcast a campaign against the practice and when people were asked why this cruel act was still in play, some women said it was because it existed before them and they have to protect the “tradition”, the men argued that women who were not circumcised would become promiscuous.


So the “tradition” attempts to curb promiscuity by mutilating girls who have not fully realised that they are girls or understand the concept of promiscuity. This “promiscuity” that isn’t a problem for the male is suddenly one they want to “shield” the girl-child from. Quick question: if she will be promiscuous, who is it going to be with?


We all know it is inhumane, a lot of people have campaigned against it, and we travel around seeing billboards #SAYNOTOFGM decrying the practice but one fundamental part of the puzzle which unfortunately is missing is sexual education.


We campaign in the cities and the actions happen in the villages and most girls who are victims because of the way we handle our sexuality will not open up to say they were mutilated  because the female sexuality is a taboo topic in Nigeria.


It is very saddening that a lot of people who are victims do not even know that this “tradition” is actually cruel and reduces their sexual prowess. They do not even know that the female can also experience sexual pleasure because they were not taught to know or understand that women were not just meant for procreation but also pleasure.


We must understand that when we start talking about our sexuality as females in public places, in conferences then can we begin to define how exactly we can solve these problems and our solutions will be permanent.


We all say “problem shared is half solved”. I will intensify that female sexuality is a problem to be shared. We will organise “women in leadership” conferences and nobody will mention the vagina or make reference to the female sexuality because the “worded” speakers for some reasons would rather motivate and inspire young women who do not understand fully who they are anatomically and otherwise.


It is important to note that we cannot run away from our roots, where we all came from-the vagina. If you want to argue caesarean operation or artificial insemination, you surely got into the womb through the vagina, and the egg needed for incubation came through the vagina.


The female sexuality is under lock and key, we must first free it and then we can begin to navigate through the labyrinth knowing we will go through it scathed by our efforts but saved by our success.



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