The emotional effects of female genital cutting on young girls

By: Taren Vaughan

When you think of genital cutting, the first thing that normally comes to mind is the circumcisions that are made on baby boys. That process has now made its way over to the other gender.

So where did it all begin?

Although this may be new news to many of us, this process has been taking place for many years. It is most popular in countries like Asia, The Middle East and Africa. Members of the communities there say that the process is supposed to “mark a woman’s journey to adulthood”. So exactly how pain is this journey supposed to be?

After discovering the actual process of female circumcisions, one can see why pediatricians are fighting so hard to outlaw it. Since we obviously are not equip with the same genitalia as our male counterparts, our “snip and clip” process is slightly different. Female genital cutting can vary from culture to culture. But one of the most intense forms of it requires the stitching together of the inner and outer labia of the vagina. Keep in mind that the majority of these processes are done in third world countries so you know what that means: No top notch anesthesia. I have no personal experience with this but this just sounds horribly painful.

Luckily for American women, female circumcisions are prohibited in the United States. Although this is true, there have been instances where females who reside in America have fallen victim to genital cutting. According to the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, there were approximately 228, 000 women living in the United States in the year 2000 who were already circumcised or at risk for it. If you think this number is startling, the number of women worldwide who undergo this process is even more disturbing. It is estimated that 140 million adult women and girls all over the world have gone through the process of genital cutting.

Female genital cutting may be viewed as a sacred ritual in some areas of the world. But it can cause some severe emotional damage to the females that have to go through this process. Every culture is entitled to engage in whatever ceremonies that they see fit. However, the health, safety and emotional well being of the participating individuals should be considered.

Source: CNN Health

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