The language we use to describe the world around us helps to create our understanding of it. This is why it is important to use terms that truthfully describe reality.
FGM (female genital mutilation) is sometimes also referred to as female circumcision. Circumcision, though a very painful procedure, does not describe the procedure of female genital mutilation accurately.
Equality now, an international women’s’ right organisation running a campaign against female genital mutilation, co-operate with many African anti-FGM activists who are fierce advocates of using the term “mutilation” for the procedure. It is extremely important that the term mutilation is used instead of circumcision. The cutting, which is usually done without anesthetic, often has severe consequences for the girls that have to endure it.
The consequences include everything from chronic infection, to severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth. Not to mention the psychological trauma that some of the girls are left with after the procedure. FGM might also lead to death as a result of bleeding or infection.
It is estimated that 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM, according to the WHO.
FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
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