Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organ for non medical reasons.
FGM in recognised internationally as violation of human rights of girls and women. It is nearly always carried out on minors young girls between infancy and age 15. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been at risk for FGM which is most common in the western, eastern and north eastern region of Africa. In some countries the Middle- East and Asia it is a social norm/ social pressure, as necessary part of raising a girl, to ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is therefore a global concern.
The inhuman practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is not happening only in far away. Young girls aged six and seven are regularly subjected to it here, in India. Even metropolitan cities like Mumbai have untrained midwives who continue to scar young girls from certain sects. For long, FGM or khatna remained a well – kept secret, a taboo, a inhuman acts have finally gathered the courage to speak up. This has lead to a worldwide revolution to speak up against it- thus celebrating the “zero tolerance against female genital mutilation” day on 6th February.
FGM has no health benefits rather it harms girls and women in many ways. Its immediate complications are severe pain, excessive bleeding, genital tissue swelling, fever, infections, urinary problems, injury to surrounding genital tissue, shock and death. Long term effects on sexual functions and concluded that there was lower sexual function amongst these women in later life along with dysmenorrhea (painful menses), difficult labour and postpartum haemorrhage. There are increased chances of urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, chronic pelvic pain. However it’s not just the physical aspect which causes significant decrease in the PQLI (Physical quality of life index) – 82% are targets of psychiatric illnesses like post traumatic stress disorders.
Very few rules have been made by the government prohibiting such acts or punishing the enforcers. India yet doesn’t have a specific law against FGM- making it easy to continue with these horrendous acts. Stringent acts need to be made against the same. Also general awareness of the public might help early reporting of such cases and prevention of many more girls being subjected to such torture. So let us all pledge today not just to protect our daughters but the daughters of our land from the vicious hands of inhumanity disguised as tradition.
Dr. Kamlesh Chaudhari.
Prof. & HOD
Dept. of OBGY K. J. Somaiya Medical College & Research Centre