Infibulation, a Practice Against Female Integrity

Infibulation, a Practice Against Female Integrity

120 million women in the world have been mutilated (officially*), and 4.1 million in 2019.

In the 21st century, there are still certain cultural and traditional beliefs and practices that deeply affect girls in their physical, emotional, and psychological aspects.

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The ablation, infibulation, or MFG (female genital mutilation) consists of the removal of the clitoris, labia minora, and in some cases, part of the vulva or outer labia, generally due to a cultural issue.

It is currently practiced in tribal communities and spread throughout the planet in more than 26 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia: Mauritania, Nigeria, Mali, Pakistan, Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Cameroon, Syria, Algeria, Kenya. , Gambia, Malaysia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Senegal, etc. In some, the percentage of infibulated women is very high: Egypt 95%, Somalia 98%, and Indonesia 96%.

But the scourge extends to other geographical areas since there are cases in tribal communities in Brazil, Peru, and Mexico. It also concerns Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, areas with a high percentage of migrants, who, ignoring the legislation of the host country, continue these tribal or ancestral practices, even exposing themselves to prison terms of up to 12 years, as in the case of Italy that under Law 7 of 2006 prohibits this practice, trying to protect the child/preadolescent population, in addition to creating a medical team in charge of the genital reconstruction of mutilated women.

By mutilating a woman's genitals, she is deprived of the sensitivity that she can experience during an intimate relationship, turning her into an "object." In addition to this, it must also be considered that their lives are put at risk since these practices are carried out at home, without medical supervision, without anesthesia, with non-surgical instruments, and without the minimum conditions of aseptic, which in many cases It generates severe infections, bleeding, and in some cases death.

For the Masai (Kenya) girls must lose their virginity around the age of 10 through "games" (so-called) with other minors, and with the appearance of the first menstruation, they are infibulated. Males are also circumcised. This constitutes a necessary transition ritual so that they can get married, otherwise -men and women- expose themselves to dishonor and even expulsion from their community.

The suture leaves a small hole that allows only the passage of urine and the menstrual cycle. During the first days (ten or more) the girls' legs are tied and the urine itself is used as a disinfectant. In most cases, the wound must be reopened upon marriage to allow intimate contact; with childbirth even more.

Mutilation can cause sterility -causing rejection and dishonor-, painful intimate relationships, vaginitis, and even infections and urinary incontinence, in addition to psychologically affecting and violating the human rights of women.

Some countries where it is practiced have toughened the laws to prohibit it, however clandestinely it continues to be highly practiced.

Agnes Pareyio (1956) was one of the first Maasai girls to leave her community to go to school, there she understood that she did not need to be mutilated to lead a normal life, however despite her father's support, at the age of 14 she had to face her grandmother who called her a coward dishonoring her before her community, out of pride she allowed the mutilation without expressing any pain, but she promised herself that she would fight to eradicate the infibulation.

She ran away from her house and started raising awareness, other women supported her cause.

In 1999 she created the Tasaru Ntomonok center in Narok, providing schooling and providing shelter (protected by the laws of her country) to girls and adolescents who escaped cutting or child marriages.

In 2002 she was elected Councilor (Upper Melili District) and vice-president of the Narok Council (her first woman in that position).

The UN through its Population Fund (UNFPA) recognized her work and in 2005 named her person of the year in Kenya.

By 2014, 92% of Kenyans were against cutting -according to UNICEF and UNFPA present in 17 countries-, which further highlights the valuable work to which Agnes dedicated her life.

120 million women in the world have been mutilated (officially*), and 4.1 million in 2019.


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