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Circumcision for Female - Essay Example

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Circumcision for Female

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), ...Show more

Summary

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”…
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Circumcision for Female essay example
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