Female genital mutilation is widely practiced in African and some Asian countries. Due to high rate of mobility and migration of people in different parts of the world, the tradition has in various parts of the world including Europe and United States of America. World Health Organization (2008) estimates the number of women in Africa that have undergone female genital mutilation to be between 100 and 137 million. In African continent alone, over twenty countries practice female circumcision (WHO, 2008). In Asia, most countries in the Middle East including Oman, United Arab Emirates and south Yemen undertake female circumcision on women and young girls. In predominantly Islamic countries in Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia female genital mutilation is widely practiced (Cook and Dickens, 2002). Female genital mutilation is mainly an ethnic practice that permeates across political and regional boundaries. This explains why it differs in prevalence across different regions in the world. Female genital mutilation is an ancient practice, whose origin remains shrouded in mystery. However Toubia and Izett (1998) note that female circumcision was widely practiced in Egypt by Romans and Arabs at around fifth century. Researchers attribute ethnical and traditional obsessions with chastity and virginity in women as the major motivation for undertaking female circumcision from such an early period (Parker, 2002). Regrettably, the same motivations have ensured the continuity of the practice in the current century especially in many African and Arabic cultures. Fathalla (2000) attributes psychosexual, religious, hygienic and sociologic factors as the main drivers of female genital mutilation in the current century. These factors are mainly based on unscientific and unproven reasoning that are firmly entrenched in societies with low literacy levels and high male dominance. Consequently, the practice is firmly entrenched in the current century with low prospects of abating in future. The belief that the clitoris is an aggressive organ that acerbates sexual aggressiveness in women is one of the major psychosexual factors that have resulted to the practice being widely embraced in some of the practicing cultures. This belief is entrenched in societies that subscribe to virginity and chastity of women before marriage with heavy penalties and punishment being meted to the female offenders (Gage and Rossem 2006). Consequently, the practice has advanced to infibulations, a much severe, painful, and damaging procedure that entails removal of all external female genitalia in order to maintain virginity and chastity in unmarried and married women. Religious factors play a role in the perpetuation of the practice. However, Parker (2002) argues that no mainstream religious organization including Islam endorses the practices. Rahman and Toubia (2000) argue that the widespread practicing of female circumcision across different mainstream religious organization is an indicator a widely entrenched ethnical practice that is interwoven with primitive spiritual belief, in order to accord it moral acceptance in a particular culture. Other beliefs that encourage entrenchment of female circumcision include hygiene and aesthetic reasons. According to Parker (2002),
Female circumcision, also referred as female genital mutilation is an issue of global health concern affecting large number of women especially in Africa and Asian continents. According to the World Health Organization(2008, p14), “female circumcision entails all procedures that involve total or partial removal of external female genital organs or the injury of female genital for the purpose of cultural and other non-therapeutic intentions”…
There is no argument that laws should be aimed at protecting the society but there are certain practices which are termed as religious or cultural. These practices sometimes are sometimes in violation with the universal definition of human rights but people argue in favor of them because of the religious and cultural basis of those practices.
Cultural Diversity and Sensitivity in Communication: Circumcision among the Luo Cultural Group in Kenya
The Luo cultural group found in Kenya, East Africa, does not practice male circumcision (Serah, 2008). There is a relationship between male circumcision and HIV/AIDS infection.
People involve on these practices considered it legal but for wider public, they considered it illegal due to health and emotional implications that come along with it. Female genitalia mutilation, also known as female genitalia cutting refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of external genital organs for non medical reasons.
It is usually to be done within 48 hours of the baby’s birth or at the most within 10 days of birth. Until the 1970s, circumcision was considered to be a religious custom and parents’ permission was not mandatory for circumcising male infants. David Gollaher argues that circumcision doesn’t make a boy a Jewish or a Muslim.
This practice is performed by specific communities in the world, and varies from community to community. This paper explores the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sudan, and focuses on different aspects of the practice, including it being an infringement on the human rights of women in the region.
The term ‘female circumcision’ is commonly used by clinicians who work directly with women in the community, but the official documents and policy statements normally use another term: ‘female genital mutilation’ (FGM) or ‘female genital cutting’ (FGC). The term FGM was first used in one of the first international documents.
Although opponents of circumcision question the mutilation or removal of foreskin resulting to painful and decrease sexual response, existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of neonatal male circumcision because it prevents cases of urinary tract infection (UTI), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or sexually transmitted disease (STD) and penile cancer for infants and adults.
So attempts to save the women from the practice may in fact reflect a longer-lived prejudice against all things 'African'.
Njambi suggests that the current campaign against "female genital mutilation" (or FGM) in fact suggests that the human body can be separated from its cultural context, and that those who are so against the practice are perpetuating a "culture/nature dualism" that has been "roundly questioned by feminists in science studies".
It is more of a cultural practice than religious. The cultural aspect for and against FC must be taken into consideration when consulting with Nawal. Then within this framework, medical issues should be raised with her to help Nawal make a decision for her
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