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Female Genital Mutilation

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‘Destructive Operation’ is the term, which has been given to Female Genital Mutilation, a barbaric practice that occurs even to this day in different parts of the world. Before the coining of the word ‘female genital mutilation’, it was known as female circumcision. During this operation, the goal is to inhibit a woman’s sexual feelings done through partly or entirely removing the female genitals. This is often performed before puberty, which means when the child is between the ages of four to eight. However now, it is being performed on the nurslings who are only a couple of days, weeks or months old (Desert Flower Foundation n.d). Practiced in many countries, it is an old age tradition. Any other injury to a girl’s or woman’s genitalia apart from reasons other than medical ones is also considered female genital mutilation.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, health care professionals in a clinic setting carry out more than 18% of all the female genital mutilation procedures; however, in many parts of the world non-medical practitioners who carry out childbirths and male circumcisions also perform FGM (What is Female Genital Mutilation, n.d) also carry it out. FGM is widely performed under septic conditions without anesthesia. This can cause severe pain, death or permanent health problems. The practitioners look at this concept as a very important part of their cultural and ethnic identities despite of the risks involved. However, others take this practice as a religious obligation.

Procedures of Female Genital Mutilation

Special knives, razors, scissors or pieces of glass are used to carry out this procedure. In Eastern Sudan, it has been noted that people used sharp stones on rare occasions to carry out FGM. Moreover, in some parts of Ethiopia, cauterization (burning) is also practiced. In some areas of Gambia, fingernails have been used to pluck out the clitoris of the babies. This is such an unhygienic process because in most occasions instruments are re-used without being sterilized or cleansed (Turman 2001). Only some urban areas use anesthesia, otherwise it is hardly used. The incision is made while the girl is lying down on a mat, held by a number of women. In order to stop the bleeding, the wounds are frequently healed by mud or animal dung. In rare cases it happens that the operation is performed by medical personnel in health clinics or hospitals. In most cases, the local mid wives or the elderly of the community practices it.

The age at which FGM is done varies ethnically and geographically. In Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mauritania, the operation is performed on the newborns, or within the first few weeks of birth. In Tanzania and Kenya, women are excised on the wedding night. In Mali, women undergo the operation after the birth of their first child. However, FGM is more often performed on girls who are in the age brackets of four to eight years, or before their menstruation. This practice is more common in areas where there is a high rate of illiteracy, poverty, hunger, unsanitary conditions and where less has been done in the field of health and sanitation. Moreover, in places were characteristically, the economic and social status of women is low.


A lot of research has been done, but it is hard to find documentation and statistical information. However, it is believed that it has been more that 2500 years that ‘female circumcision’ is practiced, prior to Islam or Christianity. The geographical and cultural origins of the practice are unknown. This practice is common among variety of cultures that are so geographically dispersed, so it is reasonable to assume that this practice arose among different groups of people independently. Some people argue that it started when black slave women entered ancient Arab societies during the slave trade. However, others believe that this practice developed independently as part of puberty rites among certain Sub Saharan ethnic groups (Tumen 2001). Historians and anthropologists have traced infibulations to ancient Egypt. After analyzing the mummies, it was discovered that women around this time were circumcised; hence, the practice may have originated there. Others argue that the practice has existed long before. They argue that women were circumcised earlier, when they took animals out for pasture, as a protection against rape among herders (Slack 1988).

Review of Literature

According to Nahid Taubia and Anika Rahman, the term ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ remains an “effective policy and advocacy tool” in the international community (Chauhan 2002). As a feminist anthropologist, Ellen Greunbaum faced two dilemmas. She described these in her book The Female Circumcision Controversy. The first dilemma focused on the fact the how can an issue where one woman inflicts damage on another woman be addressed? The other dilemma she faced was how to become an activist without disregarding the cultures’ of others. Her book depicts a case study of Sudan- where the most severe form of FGM, infibulations takes place. She looks closely at how young girls’ circumcision ceremonies take place. She has also included some interesting discussions with the Sudanese women on their sexuality. In her book, Greunbaum has challenged the interpretations provided for FGM. FGM is generally seen as a way of controlling a woman’s sexuality, but whilst her talks with Sudanese women, she discovered that a female’s sexuality is neither destroyed nor unaffected by the practice of female genital mutilation.

Another interesting fact discovered by her was that it does not eliminate sexual satisfaction in all women. Religion is often demonstrated as one of the important reasons of FGM, but the Islamic African regions present diverse interpretations and the Sudanese are actively debating over these interpretations. FGM is believed to have a scarring psychological impact on most of the women, but when the adult women were interviewed, the results were ironic. They could vividly recall their circumcisions but they did not dwell on the pain or fear; in fact, they laughed about it. During her course of research, Greunbaum finds that in Sudan, severe operations are associated with higher social standing and are practiced as a mark of ethnic or social standing. She also found out that one of the main reasons of FGM is the marriage-ability of women. It is a significant means of gaining status in society, sadly because of the absence of other means such as education or employment.

Rahman and Taubia believes that within the human rights arena, framing the issue of FGM is primarily meant to raise the political profile and raise awareness of these neglected rights. This will further help in establishing dialogues as to how to stop them. The crux of their argument is that FGM violates many international human rights, that have been a part of many treaties. Furthermore, in their book, they have made considerable recommendations for the governments concerning legal and policy measures. They argue that women are more important than politics; hence, they should receive priority over politics. This was seen as an impossible solution to the problem, because this can lead to women’s status becoming a political issue in the society (Chauhan 2002). A very good description of Pharoanic circumcision is provided in Barclay’s (1964) study of Burrri al Lamaab. Burri al Lamaab is a small village community of Khartoum.

This study was conducted by D. R. MacDonald. He observed that the Muslim Sudanese girls have to undergo this operation when they are of the ages 4-10. Young (1949) reported that only females participate in the ceremony. She was present in the ceremony that took place in Omdurman, a place that is situated just corner to corner from Nile to Khartoum. The courtyard in which the ceremony takes place is only filled up with women and children. During his course of study in Burri al Lamaab, Barclay (1959-1960) found out that the circumcision was an integral ceremony, which was celebrated as a joyful occasion. This joyous occasion accompanies many festive noises. These noises and celebrations are have a purpose of drowning the voices of the girl whose genitals are being amputated. The girl is the center of attention during this one occasion; therefore, she is supposed to be happy.

She even receive a number of gifts on this particular festivity. Windstrand (1965) reported that the operation can prevent sexual intercourse between married couples. MacDonald’s informants earlier told how it would almost take a year for a man to enter into his wife. At another occasion it was quoted that a man would often have to use a candle to open the orifice of his wife before attempting intromission. If he wouldn’t succeed, he would have to call the midwife or a medical personnel who will open the orifice through surgery. In that case, the husband is forced to pay huge amounts of money to both his wife and the midwife to keep their mouths shut; otherwise, he would be disgraced. According to Windstrands (1965) survey, it was reported that the services of the midwife were almost always necessary. The entire idea behind this custom is to protect and prove the chastity of the girl before marriage. As per Kaplan et al (1969) infibulations is not a rite of passage among the Somali. Barclay (1964) seconds Kaplan (1969) by arguing that his data shows similar results in Sudan.

Kennedy (1970) further argues that it is also not a rite of passage in Egypt. Nordenstam (1969) observed how the concepts of dignity (sharaf) and personal family honor (karama) are in concerned with the woman’s sexual comportment. Hence, a woman can bring disgrace to family by damaging her dignity and personal honor through the loss of her own ird (sexual decency). In Sudan, if a woman loses her sexual decency, she can face grave consequences for that. One of his informants reported Nordenstam (1968), how a woman along with her lover would be killed, if she will be accused of adultery. The male members of the family perform this practice. Antoun (1968) argues that if a husband finds out that his wife is not a virgin on the night of their wedding, he may divorce her.

A family will no longer be respected without sharaf and karama, and the family will lose their honor, due to the indecent behavior of the woman. At times, the family moves away to a further village to escape from such disgrace. It has been argued, that Sudan makes virgins and they are not born virgins. The Westerners consider this. As per the modern viewpoint, virginity is a physical behavior that a specific behavior can alter, whereas, in Sudan, virginity is considered a social category. Hence, this shows that socially, this physiological manifestation can be controlled. According to the Pharaonic circumcision, a girl or woman is transformed into a Sudanese virgin, irrespective of the fact whether or not she was a virgin (Hayes 1975).

Types of Female Genital Mutilations

There are various types of Female Genital Mutilations and various procedures are employed in each of the kinds. World Health Organization has identified these types.

Type I

In this type the clitoris is removed with the help of a sharp object. This is the most widely used procedure. With the help of the thumb and the index finger, the clitoris is held, pulled out and then amputated with one stroke of any sharp object. After this the bleeding needs to be stopped, this is done by applying pressure bandages or packing the wound with gauzes and other mediated bandages. However, the modern day practitioners would stop the bleeding by stitching around the clitoral artery. This is practiced throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula.

Type II

In this type of Female Genital Mutilation, the extent to which the clitoris is amputated varies. The clitoris is amputated in a similar manner as explained above, but in this procedure, the practitioners aim to remove labia minora, partially or completely with the same stroke. This is the most severe operation. Bleeding is stopped in a similar manner by applying pressure or packing the wound with gauzes. At times they even insert one or two stitches in a circular manner, which might not always cover the vaginal opening or the urethra. Extensive cases of excision have been reported, many times which results in pseudo-infibulations although there has been no stitching. The smooth opening left is enough to permit urination and the passing of menstrual blood. This artificial opening is often no bigger than the head of a matchstick. This procedure is extremely painful and distressing. Furthermore, there is a great risk of infection.

Type III

The tissue which is removed in this type of mutilation is extensive. It involves the removal of complete form of clitoris and labia minora, along with the inner surface of the labia majora. Using thorns or poultices, the raw edges of labia majora are brought together to fuse. They can even be stitched to hold them in place. Once this is done, the legs are tied for 2-6 weeks. The healed scar creates a hood of a skin. It acts as a physical barrier to intercourse because the skin covers the urethra and part or most of vagina. In this procedure mainly, the vaginal orifice is narrowed. At the back, only a small opening is left that allows the flow of urine and menstrual blood. An estimated 15-20% of women undergo type III of female genital mutilation. The countries where this type is practiced in high numbers include Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan. However, it is also practiced on a smaller scale in parts of Egypt, Eritria, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya and Mali.

kType IV

Many procedures encompass Type IV Female Genital Mutilation. Many of these are self-explanatory. One of the two procedures includes scraping of the tissue around the vaginal opening. This is described by the terms ‘angurya cuts’. The other one is known as ‘Gishiri cuts’. This is meant to increase the outlet of the vagina; backward cuts are made into the perineum. In order to increase the outlet of vagina so that it relieves obstructed labor. This often damages the anal sphincter and result in vesico-vaginal fistulae.

All the harmful procedures that are non-medical in nature are included. These procedures include pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization. In this type of mutilation, there is no such mention of removing only the clitoral hood (World Health Organization n.d).

Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital mutilation is practiced in 28 countries of Africa and the Middle East. In FGM prevalence, some regional patterns have also been observed. During 1989-2002, the health surveys that were done within North-Eastern Africa, the prevalence of FGM was estimated at 80-97 percent. While in the eastern Africa, it was estimated to be 18-38%. North eastern Africa included Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and northern Sudan. Moreover, eastern Africa included Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. It has been reported that FGM has been documented in several countries outside of Africa; however, the national prevalence data is not available. It is according to the anatomical extent of the procedure that FGM is classified. In addition to it, the prevalence varies by location and ethnic group.

The most common types of female genital mutilation include clitoridectomy or excision. This accounts for 90 percent of the FGM cases. Moreover, only 10 percent of the cases are reported to involve infibulations. Since the national data is not available on the prevalence of FGM, estimates have been taken out. It has been estimated that around 66, 000 women in England and Wales have undergone this operation. Similarly, it is estimated that 32, 000 girls who are under the age of 15 have a high probability of undergoing the procedure (Amnesty International).

Harmful Consequences of Female Genital Mutilation

As per the systematic review of Health Complications of FGM, WHO, FGM is associated with a range of health complications of which, some are severely disabling. However, the documented evidence on the frequency of health complications is very scanty. According to Turmen (2001), the health needs of the affected communities are stopped because of the lack of information and it also conceals the extent to which FGM takes place (Turmen 2001). In order to provide quality health care and follow-up for clients, good documentation is extremely important, so that the management can be efficient. All the health institutions should have a policy of training the nurses and midwives about the recording the presence of FGM, and the complications that were faced during the surgery. They should also keep a record of the type of FGM (Turmen 2001).

Physical Complications of FGM

Pain and bleeding is one of the immediate consequences faced by everyone who has undergone the surgery. Chalmers and Hashi (2000) explains how the intervention is already traumatic because the girls are usually physically down during procedure. Pain is extremely high because crude instruments are used during the surgery without giving any sort of anesthesia. These crude instruments can also damage the adjacent tissue of the urethra, vagina, perineum and rectum- this is because the person operating is often ignorant about the female genitalia, adopts a poor technique or might be operating in poor light. If the urethra is damaged, it may result in incontinence. This often happens when the girl is struggling with pain and fear. Excision of clitoris often results in hemorrhage. When the clitoral artery is cut, it has a strong flow and high pressure of blood, which is stopped by packing, stitching or tying. This may often be ineffective; hence, resulting in hemorrhage. It is one of the most common and life threatening consequence of female genital mutilation.

Protracted bleeding or extensive acute hemorrhage can lead to hemorrhage shock or anemia and in some cases death. Immediately after the operation, there are chances that the girl might go into shock. This is because of the severe loss of blood and pain, the girl might experience trauma that can also be fatal. Around the wound, there can be a lot of swelling and inflammation. This results in increased fear of passing the urine on the raw wound, causing acute urine retention. During the operation, the adults hold down the girl, this often leads to a number of fractures of the clavicle, fermur or humerus. The hip joint can also be dislocated when the girl struggles during the operation and she is retrained with pressure. Female Genital Mutilation may result in a number of infections because of the unsterilized equipments that are used.

Apart from this, after the amputation of the clitoris is done, the personnel conducting the surgery often apply mud, herbs or ashes to the wound. This may help in spreading the bacteria. After the type III infibulations, the legs of the girl are tied. This contaminates the wound with urine or faeces. Due to the various infections, the wound cannot be healed. This often results in fever, ascending urinary tract infection, pelvic infection, tetanus, septicemia or gangrene. In times of group mutilations, the instruments are not washed.

This may transmit blood borne diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis B. The wounds may fail to heal and may cause chronic infected ulcer or a purulent. They may fail to heal because of infections, irritations from urine or rubbing, walking or at times because of malnutrition. Female Genital Mutilation may have long-term physical consequences as well. These include difficulty in passing urine, recurrent urinary infection, pelvic infections, infertility, keloid scar, abscess, cysts and abscesses on vulva, clitoral neuroma, difficulties in menstruations, and calculus formation in the vagina, fistulae, dyspareunia, sexual dysfunction and problems in childbirth.

Psychological Complications of FGM

Literature have shown that Female Genital Mutilation also have grave psychological complications. These may include anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and depression. It has been characterized as a humiliatingly public ritual mutilation (Barr 2005). In some tribes, the ritual is performed on young and uninformed girls by various acts of deception, intimidation, coercion and violence by parents, friends and relatives whom the girl has trusted. Women have reported to struggle the same way during their menstruation and sexual intercourse the way they suffered during the genital mutilation. In Sudan, the women are given a day off from work every month to deal with their menstrual problems. Girls often experience feelings of betrayal against the families, even when they start getting back the support after the mutilation (Turmen 2001).


Majority of the practitioners do not consider Female Genital Mutilation a health hazard despite of the evidence to the contrary. According to Sequiera (1931) in Africa, female circumcision denoted that a child was passing puberty and going into adulthood. This tradition was similar to that of male circumcision, which showed that the child was becoming a full member of the tribe. Jomo Kenyatta (1965) describes that female circumcision among the Kenyans is like a custom that has a lot of social, moral and religious implications apart from the operation itself. It is impossible for a woman to consider herself as part of the tribe without getting this operation done. Hence, if the concept of female genital mutilation will be abolished, so this means abolishing the entire institution.

Baronnet (1980) explains well how female circumcision remains a significant African custom that is rooted in the foundations and sociological structures of the societies where it is practiced. The sociologist further explains that the operation is performed on younger girls before they reach puberty. It is often performed at the time of their birth. The reasons that are given behind the concept of female genital mutilation remain consistent and are mostly based on myths apart from the usual explanation of it being a custom. It is distressing how these people ignore the biological and medical facts that are associated with FGM. In Mali, people justify female genital mutilation through various tribal myths. They believe that it is necessary to distinguish the sex of a child. Epelboin (1979) explains the Dogan and Bambara myth of Mali. In this myth, he describes how the people of Mali believe that human beings possess the souls of both males and females when they first come to this world. The ‘female soul’ of the boy is in his prepuce, and the ‘male soul’ of the girl is in her clitoris.

They believe that ‘Wanzo’ who is an evil power inhibits each Bambara child’s blood and skin. It is also considered as a force of disorder. This ‘wanzo’ prevents a child from fecundity (richness). Hence, ‘Wanzo’ must be destroyed from the prepuce and the clitoris. According to another myth of Mali, the clitoris is a poisonous organ, which might kill a baby if it comes in contact with its head during the delivery. They are further of the belief that it must be destroyed because this poisonous organ will kill a man once he will have an intercourse with his wife (Epelboin 1979). Hosken (1982) found out that the common belief among the people of Mali was that the circumcision helps in enlarging the vagina, which makes child bearing easier. However, otherwise is true because additional cuts must be made into the perineum.

Circumcision leads to the formation of scar tissue that prevents dilation, hence making childbirth more difficult. At another occasion, Ogunmodede (1979) puts forward the explanation how people of the tribe are of the impression that operation is a motivation of pleasing the husband. African women are of the belief that that the narrower the opening will be, the tighter the introitus will be, which will increase the husbands’ pleasurable sensations during the intercourse. According to a report of the minority rights group, the motivation to please the husbands is one of the main reasons why African women re-submit themselves for more than 12 times for infibulations after childbirth.

Female Genital Mutilation as Violation of Human Rights

Female Genital Mutilation is a major violation of women’s and children’s rights; therefore, it is a human rights issue. Many of the United Nations human rights treaty monitoring bodies have observed how the treaty obligations are met by the states. many committees have been actively involved in recommending measures to combat FGM. They have also been involved in condemning the practice. These committees are also involved in criminalizing the practice. The active committees are the Committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Committee. Various recommendations have been provided by the committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women.

These were provided to states and they were expected to respond appropriately in eliminating the female genital mutilation. UN signed a number of International and Regional treaties that protected the rights of women and children. A number of established human rights are violated due to this act of female genital mutilation. These include those principals of equality and non discrimination on the basis of sex, the right to life- because often the procedure leads to deaths, the right to freedom and torture is also violated including other norms and standards.

Female Genital Mutilation inhibits women equal enjoyment of human rights as it has been present in the gender inequalities and power imbalances between men and women. This consequently results in various physical and psychological consequences. Girls and women are infringed by FGM, over autonomy and control over their lives. It deprives them of making an independent decision. Individuals and organization who are working against FGM have bared witness that this torture is such that it abuses the physical, psychological, and sexual health of girls and women. International Law protects the right to participate in cultural life and the freedom of religion.

International Conventions and Declarations related to FGM

A number of conventions and declarations promotes and protects the health and lives of girls and women. Some of these are specifically for the elimination of female genital mutilation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), declare that every human being have a right to enjoy good health and health care, and live in conditions such that enable them to enjoy. According to another law, discrimination on the grounds of sex has been condemned. It further protects the fact that every individual have a right to be able to acquire the highest level of physical and mental health. This law is known as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).

According to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), the states are obliged to take action against female genital mutilation. This means that states have to adopt such measures that abolish all the customs, traditions and practices that are involved in discriminating against women. As per the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), irrespective of his gender, a child has a right of equality. It further proclaims that a child has freedom from all forms of mental and physical violence and maltreatment.

According to the Declaration on Violence against Women (1993), action should be taken against any kind of physical or psychological violence against women, including female genital mutilation. There was a conference in 1994 by the name of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; in this conference, a recommendation on FGM was made. It committed the governments to take urgent actions against FGM and to protect women and girls from all such actions (Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation 2008).

Social Context of FGM

Female Genital Mutilation is practiced in societies that have a patriarchal authority and female sexuality and fertility is controlled. In such societies girls receive less education and their status in society is only determined through the work women perform and the number of children they can bear. In certain communities, the husband gives a specific amount of money to the family of the bride; this is known as the brides-price. This gives the family the right to her children and labor. This means that the girl hardly has a right over herself. It is on the basis of the girl’s virginity that the family is able to arrange a marriage for the girl and receive a brides-price. In Somalia, the family of the prospective husband has a right to inspect the body of the bride prior to the marriage. In addition to this, the mothers regularly keep a check on their daughter who have been infibulated. They do this to ensure that it is still closed. Hence, this concludes how parents prefer both infibulations and early marriages to ensure that their daughters remain pure and; therefore, worthy of the brides price. At times certain families or individuals oppose conforming to the idea of FGM, in such cases, these individuals or families are pressurized by the society.

A Yacouba girl in in Man, a town in the interior of Cote d’Ivoire, is not considered marriageable if she has not been circumcised. In Kenya, uncircumcised girls are considered unclean. Therefore, girls are circumcised before marriage when they are only of the ages 10-15. If a girl has a younger brother, she has to undergo circumcision even is she not married otherwise the boy will not be allowed to be a part of the warrior class. It is generally observed that girls have very little choice. During their young ages they are dependent on their fathers and parent, after which they become dependent o their husbands. They are not even given proper education. If girls resist, they may be forced into this. If a girl somehow escapes circumcision, than it becomes very difficult for the family to arrange a marriage for her. This further leads to them getting kicked out of the community and they are left with no means of subsistence.

Data of five countries is available on the women’s opinion towards excision. The Central Africa Republic is the only area in which the majority people are in favor of discontinuation of the procedure. However, a lot of justifications have been given by the respondents who favor continuation of the practice. They believe that it is important to preserve virginity before marriage and fidelity after marriage. These advocates are of the belief that is it very important to play a vital role in pleasing the husband.

According to the DHS data, it has been observed that the women themselves are involved in perpetuating the practice of female genital mutilation. It was only in Eritrea and Sudan that data on the attitude of men was collected. In Eritrea, it was observed that the number of men who were in favor of the discontinuation of the process were slightly more than the women. Moreover, the number of men who quoted that there were a number of medical complications and lack of sexual satisfaction involved in the process again outnumbered the women. There was a study conducted in Sudan in 1981 that found out that the men outnumbered women in the belief that female genital mutilation should continue (Althaus n.d).

Ethical Implications

Ethics are considered to be those ‘moral reasoning of actions’ which are based on certain standards and codes of conducts, that set by people of a specific profession. The behavior of people employed in certain profession is determined by specific codes of conducts. The issue of FGM is one of the primary violations of medical ethics in Sudan. This is because mostly doctors or other medical workers, for example, midwives consider FGM as a medical/surgical intervention. The medical personnel are often expected to conduct FGM. These medical professionals are often confronted with ethical dilemmas when they are asked to perform FGM. The recent rules and regulations inhibit these doctors from doing it (Eldin n.d). It can be argued that all practices related with female genital mutilation are ethically unfounded and ethically indefensible.

The participation of a physician constitutes the fundamental violation of medical ethics (Kluge n.d). It is fashionable to argue that that the practices grounded of a particular society are not a fitting subject of analysis by the persons who are outside of that particular culture. However, there are certain ethical grounds, which hold for all persons. Therefore, it is argued that cultural practices are only acceptable when they are in accordance with these ethical principles. In addition, it has been proclaimed that only ethically defensible cultural values should be honored.

There is no medical justification behind the idea of clitoridectomy, female circumcision and infibulations. It is mere genital mutilation. It simply violates the principle of autonomy and respect of persons. Any culture is held ethically reprehensible if they condone the idea of female genital mutilation, or if anyone is involved in it. It is important to understand that the women in those cultures are either suppressed beyond limits or are fearful that without withstanding those cultural demands, they would not get the acceptance of the society so they find themselves with no options but to follow the cultural demands. Therefore, one cannot simply condemn an act and hold women responsible for it, because whatever the case be, women are suppressed anyways.

What is FGM? | Desert Flower Foundation. (n.d.). Desert Flower Foundation | Founded by Waris Dirie. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.desertflowerfoundation.org/en/what-is-fgm/ Althaus, F. A. (n.d.). Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage Or Violation of Rights?. Guttmacher Institute: Home Page. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2313097.html Barr, M. (2005). Intersex Surgery, Female Genital Cutting, and the Selective Condemnation of ñ€ƓCultural Practicesñ€. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review,
40, 71-140. Chauhan, R. (2002). The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective by Ellen Gruenbaum;Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies Worldwide by Anika Rahman; NahidToubia. NWSA Journal, 14(2), 230-233. Eldin, D. (n.d.). Brief Communications. Female Genital Mutilation and Ethical Issues. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.sjph.net Eliminating female genital mutilation: an interagency statement OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCHR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO.. (2008). Geneva: World Health Organization. Hayes, R. O. (1975). Female Genital Mutilation, Fertility Control, Women’s Roles, and the Patrilineage in Modern Sudan: A Functional Analysis. American Anthropological Association, 2(4), 617-633. Kakenya Ntaiya | Profile on TED.com. (n.d.). TED: Ideas worth spreading. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from http://www.ted.com/speakers/kakenya_ntaiya.html Kluge, E. (0). FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION, CULTURAL VALUES AND ETHICS. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 16(2), 71-77. Organisation, t. W. (n.d.). Types of Female Genital Mutilation. The Intactivism Pages. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://www.circumstitions.com/FGM-defined.html Slack, A. T. (1988). Female Circumcision: A Critical Appraisal. Johns Hopkins University Press, 10(4), 437-486. Turman, D. T. (n.d.). Female Genital Mutilation. World Health Organizaion. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from www.who.int/frh-whd What Is Female Genital Mutilation?. (n.d.). Medical News Today: Health News. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/241726.php What is female genital mutilation?. (n.d.). Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/fgm-what.htm

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