Female Genital Mutilation In India
WHAT IS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION?
Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
WHY IS FGM PERFORMED ON GIRLS AND WOMEN?
The practice is rooted in traditional practices whose origins are unclear. The reasons behind the practice vary from region to region, and across cultures and communities.
The practice is a manifestation of gender inequality and discrimination against girls and women that is entrenched in traditional social, economic and political structures.
It attempts to control women’s sexuality and their experience of sexual pleasure, and is rooted in patriarchal ideas about the purity and modesty of women. It perpetuates harmful gender norms; some communities believe it is required for a girl’s proper upbringing, marriage or to maintain the family’s honour.
The practice is shrouded in secrecy and is often initiated and carried out by traditional circumcisers, in unhygienic conditions using unsafe instruments.
WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF FGM?
The practice has no known health benefits for girls and women. It involves damaging or removing healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of the body.
The practice can cause immediate complications, including severe pain, excessive bleeding and problems urinating. It can also have long-term effects, including leading to cysts and infections, as well as complications in childbirth. The event itself can be traumatic for survivors and can cause lasting psychological consequences.
WHAT ARE THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATED BY FGM?
Female genital mutilation of any type is recognized internationally as a harmful practice, and a form of violence against women.
The practice violates the right of girls and women to equality and non-discrimination, including in relation to the elimination of violence against women. It violates the right to security and physical integrity, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. It also violates the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In some instances, when the practice causes death, it also violates the right to life.
FGM is usually practiced on girls in the range of 0-15 years. Therefore, it is a violation of the rights of the child, especially the right to be protected from violence and to develop in a healthy manner.
IS FGM PRACTISED IN INDIA?
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) as it is practised in India is known as “khatna” or “khafz”, and involves the removal of the clitoral hood or the clitoris. This practice is common amongst the Bohra community, whose members live in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. The Bohra community is estimated to be one million strong in India; many also live outside India.
While the practice is well-documented around the world, in India the veil of secrecy around the practice has meant there is no official data on its prevalence.
In 2018, a study published by WeSpeakOut, a survivor-led movement, revealed that 75% of daughters (aged seven years and above) of all respondents in the sample, from the Bohra community, were subjected to FGM/C. Approximately 33% of the women surveyed reported that FGM/C had negatively affected their sexual life. Many said that they experienced painful urination, physical discomfort, difficulty walking, and bleeding immediately following the procedure. The women also reported long-lasting psychological harm resulting from their experiences.
END FGM/C IN INDIA.
World Health Organization, Eliminating female genital mutilation: an interagency statement UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, 2008: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw52/statements_missions/Interagency_Statement_on_Eliminating_FGM.pdf
World Health Organization, Female genital mutilation: Key facts, 2018: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/female-genital-mutilation
UNICEF, FGM/C: https://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58002.html
UNFPA, Seventeen Ways to End FGM/C: https://www.unfpa.org/publications/seventeen-ways-end-fgmc
All You Need To Know About FGM | End FGM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN1mulqwv5g