Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt Essay

Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ) is a socio-religious pattern that is really prevailing in Africa. Asia and the Middle East. It entails the partial or entire remotion of the female external genital organ for cultural or any other non-therapeutic intent. As of 1999. at least 130 million misss and adult females were believed to hold undergone FGM. In the same twelvemonth. it was estimated that about 2 million misss are at hazard of being subjected to some signifier of the process every twelvemonth ( WHO 3 ) . FGM is criticized chiefly for its damaging effects on a woman’s physical and psychological wellness.

Girls and adult females who had been subjected to FGM may decease of bleeding. daze. urinary piece of land infections or lockjaw ( WHO 21 ) . They may likewise experience psychological upsets such as terrible depression. anxiousness and psychosomatic unwellnesss ( Markle. Fisher and Smego 79 ) . Advocates of FGM. nevertheless. claim that Islam requires the pattern in order to continue a woman’s celibacy ( WHO 6 ) . The existent beginnings of FGM are really vague – ethnologists and historiographers have come up with different theories sing the being of the pattern.

While FGM is normally associated with Islam. historical grounds shows that the former has predated the latter by at least 1. 200 old ages. The process was believed to hold been foremost discussed by the Grecian historian Herodotus ( 484 – 425 BC ) ( Bullough and Bullough 205 ) . Harmonizing to his Hagiographas. the Ethiopians. the Hittites and the Phoenicians during the fifth century BC were already practising FGM ( UNFPA n. pag. ) . The early Romans. the Egyptians and the Arabs likewise performed FGM – there are historical histories of Egyptian mas exhibited marks of holding undergone the process ( UNFPA n. pag. ) .

For the ancient Egyptians. FGM was regarded as a mark of differentiation among the nobility ( Momoh 5 ) . In Western Europe and the United States. FGM was known as female circumcision. Until the fiftiess. physicians in these parts used female circumcision to handle “ailments” in adult females such as crazes. mental upsets. nymphomania. onanism and sapphism ( UNFPA n. pag. ) . FGM is normally done on misss between 8 to 10 old ages old. Generative wellness experts. nevertheless. indicate out that the process is already being carried out on younger misss – at that place have been instances wherein infant misss were subjected to FGM merely a few yearss after their birth ( WHO 147 ) .

FGM is classified into four general types: a. Type I – Deletion of the foreskin. with or without deletion of portion or the full button. B. Type II – Excision of the button with partial or entire deletion of the labia minora. c. Type III – Excision of portion or the full external genital organ and the sewing or narrowing of the vaginal gap ( infibulation ) ( Momoh 6 ) . d. Type IV – Pricking. piercing or incising of the button and or the labia ; scraping of tissue environing the vaginal opening ; film editing of the vagina and or the debut of caustic substances or herbs into the vagina to bring on shed blooding or to fasten the gap ( UNFPA n.

pag. ) . FGM is normally performed by traditional accoucheuse or small town Barbers. They use unsterilised instruments such as razor blades. knives. broken glass. scissors or sharpened rocks. Furthermore. they conduct processs without anaesthetic in unhygienic scenes ( WHO. 148 ) . A new phenomenon. nevertheless. has emerged in the recent old ages – the “medicalization” of FGM. Despite Torahs censoring the pattern of FGM. infirmaries in Egypt. Kenya and Sudan now clandestinely execute the process.

Under the stalking-horse of an unwellness. female adolescents in these states are circumcised in the infirmary either early in the forenoon or tardily at dark. The process is done during these hours in order to hedge sensing and apprehension. The penalty for executing FGM is comparatively stiff – a $ 625 mulct or captivity for up to a twelvemonth. But physicians volitionally look the other manner for the money – medical practicians in Kenya. for case. are paid between $ 37 and $ 125 for every process they perform. Traditional practicians. in crisp contrast. could bear down merely every bit much as $ 25 ( Nzwili n.

pag. ) . Egypt’s current job with FGM can be traced back to the International Conference on Population and Development ( ICPD ) in 1994. The ICPD was held in Cairo – purportedly a turning point in the apprehension of wellness. development and women’s rights in the Islamic universe. Critics. nevertheless. pointed out that the Cairo Program of Action simply “forwarded a holistic vision of the connexions between sexual ad generative wellness and women’s economic liberty. societal and political equality. entree to instruction and freedom from violence” ( Chavkin and Chesler 35 ) .

The issues sing the right of adult females to command their gender and the relevancy of this right to accomplishing wellness and societal justness were inadequately discussed ( Chavkin and Chesler 35 ) . Despite this defect. the ICPD managed to transform the issue of FGM from a comparatively low-profile topic into affair of national argument. Conservative spiritual leaders who participated in the conference and their Alliess in the Egyptian imperativeness expressed their blessing of FGM by claiming that it is an of import portion of national and spiritual individuality.

Progressive women’s groups. on the other manus. argued that the pattern perpetuated the inferior position of adult females in Egyptian society. In the procedure. this difference on FGM showed that the subject of women’s rights is merely a agency for Egyptian politicians to achieve popularity among the electorate ( Chavkin and Chesler 35 ) . Eager to do a good feeling on all the foreign delegates of the ICPD. peculiarly on those from the West. the Egyptian curate of wellness stated that FGM was already a deceasing pattern in Egypt.

But on the really following twenty-four hours. CNN reported about the Circumcision of a immature miss that took topographic point someplace in Cairo ( Chavkin and Chesler 35 ) . The curate. in an act of political face-saving. declared that the Egyptian authorities was determined to face and set an terminal to the pattern. In order to pacify Egypt’s conservative sector. meanwhile. he signed an ambivalent edict which allowed merely public medical installations to execute FGM. The jurisprudence even included commissariats which set criterion fees and particular yearss when households could book assignments ( Chavkin and Chesler 36 ) .

The aforesaid wake of the ICPD showed the greatest obstruction towards to the full implementing anti-FGM policies and plans non merely in Egypt but in all other states that pattern FGM – the rapprochement of cosmopolitan jussive moods of human rights with the values of local civilizations. The same quandary besides hounded other FGM-related human deaths. peculiarly the decease of four-year-old Egyptian miss Amira Hassan. She died in 1996 due to anesthesia-related complications while undergoing FGM. Alternatively of pressing charges against the physician. Ezzat Shehat. Hassan’s parents merely dismissed her death as “a will of God” ( HURINet n.

pag. ) . They believed that subjecting their girl to FGM was their responsibility as good Muslims ( HURINet n. pag. ) . Most Egyptians continue to believe in the said relationship between FGM and Islam. A 2005 UNICEF study on the pattern revealed that about 97 % of adult females between 15 and 49 old ages old were subjected to Circumcision ( Reuters-AlertNet n. pag. ) . Despite a 2008 jurisprudence which renders FGM punishable by three months to two old ages in prison and a mulct of LE 1. 000 to LE 5. 000. the pattern continues to be in secret carried out in Egypt.

Harmonizing to the country’s conservative and spiritual groups. FGM is necessary to keep a woman’s celibacy ( Samaan n. pag. ) . Indeed. cultural and spiritual beliefs are besides major factors behind the issue of FGM in Egypt. The pattern has already existed long before the coming of Islam. And for a good ground – patriarchate was already in being even before the outgrowth of faith. For a patriarchal society to last. female gender must be limited and controlled ( Turshen 146 ) . FGM is regarded as one of the most effectual agencies of commanding a woman’s gender.

The button. the labia minora and the labia majora – the variety meats removed in FGM – enable a adult female to bask sexual intercourse. In a patriarchal society. adult females are non supposed to see the pleasances of sex. They are supposed to be neuter existences. dependably functioning their several households and prosecuting in sex merely for the intent of reproduction. Womans who do otherwise are considered promiscuous ( Turshen 146 ) . It is hence believed that circumcised adult females are less likely to be unchaste and commit criminal conversation. In add-on. FGM is viewed as a agency of stressing muliebrity.

When a adult female is circumcised. the parts of her organic structure that are metaphorically seen as male. such as the pubic hair and the button. are removed. During ancient times. it was believed that the button “would turn and stick out like the ( phallus ) ” ( Turshen 150 ) . Men. on the other manus. undergo Circumcision in order to heighten their gender. Male Circumcision entails the film editing of the prepuce of the phallus. A circumcised phallus is believed to be more antiphonal to sexual rousing than an uncircumcised one ; therefore the ancient belief that Circumcision is necessary for virility. Furthermore. a circumcised phallus is easier to maintain clean.

January 1 eliminates the formation of smegma. a combination of oil. wet and dead tegument cells which serves as a lubricator during sexual intercourse ( Turshen 146 ) . Islam does non straight province that all Muslims must be circumcised irrespective of gender. However. much of the bing Islamic literature today emphasizes a particular nexus between Islam and FGM ( Turshen 151 ) . The most well-known Hadith ( unwritten traditions that record the Prophet Muhammad’s address and actions ) about FGM Tells of a argument between Muhammad and Um Atiyyah. a adult female who used to circumcise female slaves.

Muhammad was said to hold asked Um Atiyyah if she continued to pattern her profession ( Denniston. Hodges and Milos 148 ) . She said she did. adding that she would non halt making so “unless it is out and you order me to halt making it” ( Denniston. Hodges and Milos 148 ) . He so replied. “Yes. it is allowed. Come closer so I can learn you: if you cut. make non exaggerate it ( la tanhiki ) . because it brings more glow to the face ( ashraq ) and it is more pleasant ( ahza ) for the husband” ( Denniston. Hodges and Milos 148 ) . Since the first centuries of Islam. nevertheless. Muslim bookmans have been size uping the genuineness of the Hadiths.

They believe that bulk of the Hadiths were “contradictory and ( contained ) avowals that gave a bad feeling of the Islamic religion” ( Denniston. Hodges and Milos 148 ) . In stead of the Hadiths. Muslim bookmans came up with their ain accounts behind the association of FGM with Islam. The first theory was that FGM was a agency of salvaging adult females from the debasement that they experienced in the pre-Islamic epoch. For the Muslims. the pre-Islamic epoch was the “Age of Ignorance” – a period of corruptness. bloodshed. moral depravity and societal pandemonium ( Akhtar 23 ) . Womans in the pre-Islamic epoch had few rights.

The pattern of burying infant females in the sand was really rampant. Those who managed to populate to adulthood. interim. had no other agencies of endurance except through harlotry ( Akhtar 23 ) . It has been mentioned earlier that the variety meats removed in FGM – the button. the labia minora and the labia majora – enable a adult female to bask sexual intercourse. By taking these variety meats. hence. it was expected that adult females would no longer take pleasance in sexual intercourse and abandon harlotry in the procedure. The 2nd theory is that some Islamic societies might hold acquired the pattern of FGM from other civilizations or faiths.

During Muhammad’s clip. the Jews were considered as the elite of Arab society. Consequently. it became inevitable that Islam was influenced by Judaic philosophies and patterns such as Circumcision ( Denniston. Hodges and Milos 148 ) . But this begs the inquiry of how come even Muslim females are circumcised – the Jews circumcise merely males. The reply is that Islam might hold tailored certain Judaic philosophies and patterns to accommodate its ain aims. One of the aims of Islam was to elate the position of adult females ( Akhtar 23 ) . In order to accomplish this end. Islam put its ain spirit to the Judaic pattern of Circumcision.

As a consequence. even Muslim adult females were required to undergo Circumcision. Despite changing accounts sing the beginnings and intents of FGM. one thing is certain – it is non without damaging physical and psychological effects. The most immediate negative effects of FGM are terrible hurting and bleeding. which. in bend. can ensue in hypovolemic daze and decease. Other direct effects include abscesses. lesion taint and local infections – obvious consequences of executing the process in unhygienic milieus utilizing unsterilised tools ( WHO 149 ) .

FGM besides has significant long-run hazards. The pattern normally obstructs the drainage of piss. vaginal secernments and catamenial blood. This happening. in bend. consequences in chronic pelvic infections. catamenial disfunction and catamenial hurting. Urinary keeping. interim. leads to chronic urinary piece of land infection and nephritic harm. When catamenial blood is unable to flux out of the organic structure. abdominal hurting and swelling ensue ( WHO 149 ) . The abdominal dilatation that circumcised adult females experience due to the deficiency of catamenial flow has been misinterpreted as a gestation.

As a consequence. some circumcised but single adult females have been subjected to honour violent deaths – killed by their male relations in order to continue the award of their kin. FGM besides exposes a adult female to the hazard of undertaking HIV. Unsterilized instruments may convey HIV-infected blood into an HIV-negative patient ( WHO 149 ) . Womans who underwent FGM may besides see troubles in sexual intercourse after the process. Penetration may either be painful or impossible due to a narrow introitus. Prolonged postcoital hemorrhage and anorgasmia may likewise take topographic point.

In some instances. surgery was necessary to open up the vagina for incursion ( WHO 150 ) . FGM may render a adult female infertile. Chronic pelvic infections frequently lead to the obstructor of the fallopian tubing. The latter is one of the most common causes of ectopic gestation. which can take to the decease of both the female parent and the babe. Narrowing of the introitus. meanwhile. may coerce a twosome to utilize the anus or the urethra for sexual intercourse. Fluctuating endocrines during gestation put circumcised adult females at more hazard for venereal and urinary piece of land infections than their uncircumcised opposite numbers ( WHO 150 ) .

The most common psychological upsets among circumcised adult females are depression and anxiousness – they have to conform to parental and social outlooks while covering with hurting. complicated recovery and other long-run wellness effects. Painful sexual intercourse may ensue in them holding vastly traumatic memories of their nuptials dark. Circumcised adult females besides have to populate each twenty-four hours in fright – they invariably view each cyst that grows in them as a possible symptom of malignant neoplastic disease or other serious complaint ( WHO 152 ) . When the physical hurting becomes excessively much for them to digest. they might fall back to suicide.

Female venereal mutilation is one of the worst signifiers of force that can be inflicted on a adult female. In an attempt to bind her to the place. she is dreadfully mutilated and made to populate in changeless hurting for the remainder of her life. A circumcised adult female is besides made to populate in fright. She is invariably warned by society that to avoid Circumcision is to confront banishment and even disapprobation. Much still has to be done before FGM will eventually be abolished. But the first measure remains to be instruction. Societies must be made cognizant of the importance of educating misss.

Numerous surveies have already proven that misss who have attained basic instruction are healthier and are less likely to decease in childbearing than those who did non. When the members of a peculiar society – both male and female – are healthy. this society becomes productive. Works Cited Akhtar. Shabbir. The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Doctrine of Islam. New York: Routledge. 2007. Bullough. Vern L. . and Bonnie Bullough. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. New York: Taylor and Francis. 1994. Chavkin. Wendy. and Ellen Chesler. Where Human Rights Begin: Health. Sexuality and Women in the New Millennium.

Chapel Hill: Rutgers University Press. 2005. Denniston. George C. . Frederick Mansfield Hodges and Marilyn Fayre Milos. Male and Female Circumcision: Medical. Legal and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice. New York: Springer. 1999. “Egyptians Stand by Female Circumcision. ” 10 December 1996. The Human Rights Information Network ( HURINet ) . 27 February 2009 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. hartford-hwp. com/archives/32/018. hypertext markup language & gt ; . “Egypt Mufti Says Female Circumcision Forbidden. ” 24 June 2007. Reuters-AlertNet. 27 February 2009 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. alertnet. org/thenews/newsdesk/L24694871. htm & gt ; .

Markle. William H. . Melanie A. Fisher and Raymond A. Smego. Understanding Global Health. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional. 2007. Momoh. Comfort. Female Genital Mutilation. Abingdon: Radcliffe Publishing. 2005. Nzwili. Fredrick. “In Africa. FGM Checks into Hospitals. ” 5 December 2004. Women’s ENews. 27 February 2009 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. womensenews. org/article. cfm/dyn/aid/2097/ & gt ; . “Promoting Gender Equality: Frequently Asked Questions on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. ” n. d. United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA ) . 27 February 2009 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. unfpa. org/gender/practices2. htm & gt ; . Samaan. Magdy.

“Shoura Council Passes Child Law. Criminalizes FGM. ” 12 May 2008. Daily News Egypt. 27 February 2009 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. dailystaregypt. com/article. aspx? ArticleID=13659 & gt ; . Turshen. Meredeth. African Women’s Health. Trenton: Africa Word Press. 2000. World Health Organization ( WHO ) . 1999. Female Genital Mutilation Programmes to Date: What Works and What Doesn’t. Geneva. Switzerland: Department of Women’s Health – Health Systems and Community Health. World Health Organization ( WHO ) . Mental Health Aspects of Women’s Reproductive Health: A Global Review of the Literature. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2008.


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