I woke up this morning and still had female genital mutilation on my mind. I know, morbid, but it bothers me that I wrote about it yesterday and didn’t offer any possible solutions other than love. Love is all well and good, but there has to be some action attached to that in order to make a difference.
The first thing we have to do is understand why FGM is being performed. The mentality is so deeply entrenched in the societies who perform it that it’s become a cultural norm, despite the fact that “the practice has no health benefits” and is proven to cause actual harm. When the cutting is performed, the young girls are at risk of bleeding to death or to get infections. According to WHO, throughout their lifetime, they may have chronic pain, urinary tract infections, problems urinating, issues with sexual pleasure and childbirth, and depression.
Yet “three million girls are at risk of being cut each year.” That’s tragic to me. Three million girls are at risk of being purposefully mutilated. That’s bad enough. But that mutilation is also likely to cause further issues including possible death. That’s tragic.
Unfortunately, girls who are not cut are at risk of being shunned in their society and, as a result, risk never getting married and/or being isolated.
Ways that we can help prevent this from happening:
- Education – always education. Education creates empathy in those who are not part of the societies doing the cutting. Education for those who are part of the cutting so they understand the risks involved and the reasons for not doing it.
- Talk about it – FGM must lost its taboo status and people have to talk about it openly in order for it to be stopped. It is being performed all over the world, but, because it’s a taboo topic, it is not a problem on people’s radars. People involved need to be prosecuted. We think of it as being something only performed in small African villages where there is no education. But THREE MILLION GIRL
S are at risk EACH YEAR.
- Get involved. There are many ways to get involved to help stop this:
- UNICEF is involved in educating women about the risks involved as well as doing many other good things. Support UNICEF.
- Equality Now
*CNN wrote a comprehensive article on it here with more information on each of these organizations, and the work they do.
I read Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker many years ago when I was in college, and it hurt me down to the bottom of my soul. Reading the article last week made me realize that this issue isn’t confined to a tiny part of the world, and it’s not going away. If it hurts you as much as it hurts me, please get involved.