Danger behind a Ritual

by jessica.chouinard on November 3, 2013 - 4:54pm

In purpose of this article is to bring attention to UNICEF wanting to end female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation is a ritual of cutting girls’ genitals. This ritual is practice by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities (BBC New Africa, 2013). One of the main points and certainly needed when trying to understand these communities is the reason behind the ritual. These communities practice FGM with the belief that it protects women’s virginity and woman marriageable (BBC New Africa, 2013). In Additional, a survey was made and it was found that the support for FGM was declining and that girls are less likely to get cut now than they would have 30 years ago. It is stated that the FGM ritual is a violation of girl’s right to health, well-being and self-determination (BBC New Africa, 2013).  The last main point in this that FGM can cause  severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth (BBC News Africa, 2013). What makes the issue chosen a social problem is that there is a difference between the ideal situation and the situation that is happening right now. This social problem is also affecting groups of people because it is affecting women in many countries. It also makes it a social problem because there is a solution to this issue.

Although I understand the belief behind female genital manipulation, I believe that it needs to stop. It is violating girls right to health by creating severe bleeding, problems urinating, infection, infertility and increasing risk of newborn deaths. Female genital manipulation is something that is not talked about but that should be. I believe that if more people talked about it, then it will raise awareness and might help stop FGM.



I agree with you when you say that it is a topic that needs to gain more awareness. I understand that there are some rituals in different countries that are hard to break because they have been happening for multiple generations, but this is dangerous to young girls. This topic made me think about my childhood because I remember learning about this in elementary school when every Halloween we would be asked to "trick-or-treat for UNICEF." This meant that I would be going house to house asking for donations to UNICEF. Every year my class raised hundreds of dollars to send to the UNICEF Organization to gain awareness to end female genital mutilation. I believe that this is a ritual that can harm a girl for the rest of her life, and needs to be stopped. It can be detrimental to a girl physically, but more dangerously, mentally. This can lead to serious self-esteem issues and major anxiety that the girl will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Is all of this necessary just to fulfill something that is a ritual in Africa? Absolutely not.

Your post grabbed my attention because it was a topic that was discussed in one of my summer courses at school. I did not know that genital cutting occurred before I took that class, which proves you point that it is something that is not talked about but should be. I think it is important that you mentioned it being a ritual. By stressing that this practice is considered a ritual or tradition, it emphasizes that people in these communities believe that what they are doing is okay. I would have liked to have read more about why women participate in this practice only because not everyone is aware of this issue. I watched a video on a community in Africa that was trying to have this practice stopped and it was interesting to find out that it is widely done for aesthetic reasons as well as to make sex a painful experience so that women will not run around having intercourse all of the time. In the film, the women who were saying no to cutting on their daughters were looked at as if they were doing something wrong because it was considered so normal to have it done. As noted by the World Health Organization’s website (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/), “female genital mutilation is considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly” and it is a cultural tradition. I think that it is important to not only educate people outside of the area where it is practiced but also the areas where this is being done as well. I know that there are now programs where women who have had this done themselves are now going around to other communities and speaking out against the practice, which is creating awareness. I think that you did a great job explaining the issue as well as expressing your opinion in the blog.

World Health Organization (2013). Female genital mutilation. Retrieved from the World Health Organization website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

When I first read this I thought that female was a typo, and that it was supposed to be male. I myself have never heard of such a thing, and that makes me wonder how many people really do. I definitely agree that this matter needs to be surfaced so more people are aware, and can start standing up against it. Females should have their own rights and choices overall, but especially when it comes to their own bodies. There are many other ways to maintain a woman’s virginity and marriageability that do not include cutting their genitals. If I were a part of this culture and had the choice of either remaining celibate until marriage, or having my genitals cut I would most definitely choose celibacy and remain true to it. I do not believe under any circumstances should a women undergo physical pain and health risks for this matter. The health factors being put up at stake, including severe bleeding and infection, can cause a women to die. I found this article very interesting but disturbing at the same time. I hope to keep up with this subject matter and see awareness and improvements soon.

Wow! This is an extremely compelling article and response. I cannot fathom the pain and suffering that so many women must endure because of genital manipulation. Living in the United States it is unheard of to have any type of ritual like this. I am 100% against this brutal and animalistic behavior because it is a complete violation of every social norm and belief that I have as a female in America. This is a major social problem that needs to be addressed in a more wide scale manner. Although female manipulation is a belief by the people it is completely unethical and would never be legal where I am from. I cannot believe that UNICEF has not put an end to this sooner and that this is an ongoing matter. Absolutely mind blowing! Great article.

A few years ago in a high school class I learned that female genital mutilation was popular years and years ago in Africa. Some tribes believed that the clitoris had no part in reproduction and therefore should and would be cut off when females reached a certain age. This practice has often been compared to foot binding in ancient China: both have taken the dignity of females and made them feel more vulnerable to their male counterparts, and have led to a variety of health problems. I believe with UNICEF’s health, there will be a large decrease in the amount of genital mutilation, hopefully to the point it stops completely.

Your article got my attention because it was recently brought up in conversation. There are more people I believe talking about this issue which is helping raise awareness about the brutality of this ritual. I agree with you I think that this ritual should stop, especially since his problem can cause so many harmful effects to the female body. No female should go through that, I am glad to read in your article that the results of a recent survey showed that girls are less likely to get cut now compared to thirty years ago. I can see how people will refute this ritual and say how our American culture can circumcise a male child, but I feel that is different, that procedure causes not nearly as many complications or problems as the female cutting, and the male cutting is cutting off extra skin, not the actual genital. I think the ritual of cutting female genitalia is very wrong. I hope that the numbers continue to decrease as quickly as possible. I cannot see how this is still continuing to happen, and how UNICEF hasn’t done more about this problem. You did a nice job with the article.

Wow it is a very important subject you brought! It is sad to know that. I am not judging what is happening in different culture, but I do not think it is right what they do. Often, they want to protect and think what they do is good, but in that part of the world, there is not a lot of health program or hospital. So, when many women are mutilating and it caused a lot of damaged on the body, but also on the psychology of the person, I think UNICEF have the right to interfere. I hope it will decrease more and someday it will stop.

I am glad you are bringing attention to this topic. Not many people are aware of this practice, although I do believe it is more commonly referred to as female circumcision. From what I know about the practice the reason the health risks are so high is because families do it themselves rather than taking the young girl to the hospital to have this removal performed. The reason that many tribes did this was to reduce female sexual desire, but I must agree with you that having a young girl go through that for traditional sake alone is beyond horrifying. There is a book entitled No Laughter Here (sorry it will not allow me to italicize or underline) by Rita-Williams Garcia and it is the story of two young girls who are friends and after one friend goes to Africa she no longer smiles because this is what happened to her. I recommend it because it does show the emotional risks, although it does not show the physical health risks.

The subject of FGM came up in one of my classes when we were talking about the Ivory Coast and Senegal. Although I personally think that FGM is a horrible practice that should be stopped, one aspect of this controversy that came up in my class was whether or not an organization like UNICEF has the right to interfere into a cultural practice like FGM. I know in many of the countries around the world FGM is thought to be a horrible practice and is banned, but for those cultures still practicing FGM the question I pose is should we impose our thoughts on women's rights into their society and culture? I'm not trying to say that FGM should be practiced, because I think it shouldn't, but I am questioning the intervention of outside forces into the cultural practices of others. If organizations like UNICEF want to stop FGM, I think that they need to think about the ways in which they're stepping into these cultures and have respect for the different cultural practices no matter how different their opinions might be.

This post caught my attention because I have just recently learned about female genital mutilation. Before about a month ago, I had no idea this was actually practiced. It is such an alarming ritual and it's so hard to believe that females actually have to go through this. I agree that this definitely needs to be stopped. Not only is it extremely dangerous, but it is also illegal in most of the countries that it is practiced, the law just isn't enforced like it should be. I think the best way for this to be stopped is to educate people about it. Since this topic isn't discussed often, a lot of people including myself up until recently, do not know about this. I would like to see you add to this topic and discuss more about the ritual. For example, discussing how the ritual is done by family members and not doctors so it is not sanitary, and how there is no health benefits just dangers and lots of pain that result from it.

Your post got my attention because I have been an advocate for sexual health for 4 years now. I completely agree with you that this ritual needs to be stopped as soon as possible. Although it makes sense that the ritual would occur since it has been a regular practice for a long time, the world is evolving and while some traditions should definitely stay the same for cultural reasons, this is not one of them. The fact that the female's parents choose whether this procedure is done is absolutely horrifying. These are children being surgically performed on. If they were to wait until the female was older, say 18, and was able to make the choice for herself, then it would still be bad but it would be her choice. These children do not have the capability to even think about their sexual health, let alone make such a drastic decision. I wonder if just the act of staying abstinent would be just as efficient?

There are some women in my family that have experienced female genital mutilation. And I think I can say that for many tribes or groups all around the world, it is almost a sort of coming of age ritual, although one can have it done when young, but it mainly occurs when you get older and are in your teenage years. I’m from Sierra Leone and the women who go through this rather horrific feat do it as a means to prevent themselves from becoming, for lack of a better word, hussies. So in order to do that, they remove the clitoris. In other countries, groups, or tribes, they remove the clitoris and sew the vaginal opening to prevent women from engaging in sexual intercourse for merely the pleasure of it. Although these rituals mean well, they come with a lot of consequences and that’s where the severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth. There are severe health risks to these practices and many other ways to prevent promiscuity, such as educational means. Along with that, it inhibits ones sovereignty over their bodies and lives. Often times, women don’t have a choice in the matter.

This article greatly caught my attention because of the information presented. I have never heard of this practice. I understand that this is a ritual to those who partake in it, but how can you do such a thing to a woman when it has such high risks? However, I am confused about some aspects of this practice. Is it performed by men of the tribe, or doctors? If it is doctors, steps need to be taken to get those doctors out of their practices and have them charged with a crime. But, if it is performed by the men of the tribe, then steps need to be taken against them, too. It is even more unhealthy if this is done by the men because it puts the women at even higher health risks because of the unsanitary conditions.

This is an interesting article focusing in on not only the dangers of the woman population in this area of the world, but also ties into their religious beliefs and how they are finally looking past their beliefs and looking at the health aspect of this. This shows not only how these people are looking past their own religion, but they are also evolving, this is a huge step towards the evolution of this particular society. It is unfortunate for the women in Middle Eastern and Asian communities to have to go through these rituals of genital manipulation 30 years ago where it was almost certain this would happen to them. Now it is not as known to be done it sounds like. My final question would be why did this not seem like a moral issue up until 30 years ago to this group of people even though it is a part of their religion, it seems too gruesome to be thought of as a right thing to do within a religious society.

You article seemed interesting to me because of the title. I was expecting a different sort of ritual, not one this grotesque of an extent. A modern world literature class I’m taking is the only reason why I would understand why this practice is still occurring, is because it has become part of the culture of areas in Africa and the Middle East. You could strengthen your article by adding some more detail about the “cutting,” for example, what is being cut? Also, you state that there is a solution to this issue, how is UNICEF going to go about stopping this problem? The risks included with female genital mutilation are extremely serious, and I hope to hear more on how this issue is being dealt with!

This review has left me disturbed due to the fact that such a ritual of female genital mutilation is even practiced. I was taught that this ritual occurred in Africa along with in the Middle East due to the belief that in some countries women should be looked at as being inferior to men and shouldn’t have the right to feel pleasure and to only exist to please their men. I personally feel that there is no significant purpose to FGM and that there are more health risks than anything else. I strongly agree with you that this should be brought to attention and be put to a stop. No woman should be put through such misery and loss of independence that could cause her health issues.

This article really opened my eyes to a new subject that I have not heard much about. This is a very important issue that seems to be overlooked. It is tragic that this is happening to innocent girls in Africa and Middle Eastern countries, and as a girl living in the United States, I am fortunate enough to not have to experience this awful ritual. This topic should be more widespread because I’m sure I can speak for a multitude of people when I say that I recognize UNICEF as an organization, but I have no clue as to where that charity funds it’s money. This social problem might be difficult to demolish because it is not a well-known subject in countries like the United States, where it is unethical to perform any type of Female Genital Mutilation. The females of Africa the Middle Eastern countries do not know any better, or realize how terrible this ritual is. People in the United States, such as organizations like UNICEF, need to be educated on this issue. I agree that we need to raise awareness about FGM and put an end to it. It is a horrifying, unnecessary problem that UNICEF should resolve rapidly.

This article was very upsetting to read, not only because I am a female, however the multiple devastating effects. I am sure that even men who read this article find this unpleasing. It is difficult to comprehend the fact that someone has the audacity to cut another human’s sexual areas out. Women have been circumcised in the past as a ritual for purification or torture. Women over the years have been subordinate to men and I feel as if this is another way that men can have a lead on women in certain countries. Not only is it extremely dangerous for women’s health, but is devastating for sexual purposes as well. In the article it states that UNICEF is striding to make great efforts to stop this horrible situation for occurring in the future. UNICEF is an outstanding organization with help from multiple communities. Female genital mutilation is a major concern is certain societies and countries around the world and affects women, children and even toddlers. With great efforts such as UNICEF, more organizations and programs are needed to make this more aware for people who are in doubt of this tragedy occurring. Women deserve the choices in other countries. I am completely against female genital circumcision and hope that organizations will make this better known to put a stop to it.

This article caught my attention right away. I have heard of this happening in other countries around the world but I did not know that genital manipulation in females occurred this much. Even though this is part of certain people's cultures, I still believe that this is wrong and should be dealt with somehow. This type of manipulation can cause serious injury and I don't think that some of these cultures realize this. One part I am confused on is what are they cutting to preserve a females virginity. Other than that I thought this post was very well written and helps show what is going on in other parts of the world. I think UNICEF should step in and do something about this so that no more females get serious injuries from genital manipulation.