The practices of FGM seem to be barbaric and cruel to Western society and in societies that hold such practices are done with the belief that there is a benefit to stealing the sexual arousal mechanisms from women in order to make them less carnal and more proper. The difficulty comes in trying to honour cultures for their beliefs while motivating them to change those beliefs because of false and dangerous consequences where female sex organs are concerned. Midwifery requires the acceptance of beliefs in concert with the application of good medical and traditional knowledge where childbirth is concerned. Consulting and caring for women who have had FGM requires sensitivity to the cultural beliefs with a firm understanding of how such procedures affect women in reference to their procreative lives. Psychological and medical knowledge is necessary to treat women with both respect and dignity despite any converse beliefs on the subject. While ideally it would be beneficial to abolish the act of FGM, at this point in time it is still a potential problem that might arise when caring from patients from certain cultures or who come from a history of traumatic circumstances that ended in FGM. The following research proposal will explore the potential for a project in which the subject of FGM is examined through victims of the procedures, through the medical consequences that midwives face when dealing with patients who are victims of FGM, and through examining the balance between the victimisation of women and the cultural belief systems that must be honoured and respected while finding ways to deal with the consequences and offer reparative solutions where possible. 1.2 Background Female genital mutilation, also known as...
From this research it is clear that female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, has been defined by the World Health Organisation as “all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. Unlike male circumcision, there are no health benefits to female circumcision and often contribute to urination difficulties or difficulty in childbirth later in life. The procedure most often will occur between the ages of birth and 15 and is considered a violation against women by world organisations across agencies. There are an estimated 100 to 140 million women who live with the consequences of the procedure with 92 million living on the African continent.
There are four major types of FGM. These types are as follows:
• Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).
• Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina).
• Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
• Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.