Biko, I have this question that has been bugging my mind for some time now. Why do Africans engage in female genital mutilation or female circumcision as it’s called in some places ? Why? And in whose interest is female genital mutilation? Don’t be in a hurry to answer those questions. Pause first! Think! Think again!
You needed to see the way I scratched head as I pondered on this subject. Hope you are scratching yours too as you read this in a bid to really give an answer or response that is devoid of any traditional belief or mindset our parents handed down to us.
Anyway, to be sure I really understand this thing called female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision if you like, I looked up the meaning and explanation in different places. Who better answer the question than World Health Organisation?
”the practice, traditional in some cultures, of partially or totally removing the external genitalia of girls and young women for non-medical reasons.”- W.H.O
Believe me, I understand the definition very well but I needed to know more just in case there’s something the definition didn’t touch or cover that must have been the driving ideology why some African parents still engage in this crude act. So here are some key facts about female genital mutilation that will help in further understanding this subject. The facts are from World Health Organisation.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
- More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Who is at risk?
Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women. More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually.
More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.
So having gone through these points, here’s my thought:
I suspect that many years ago, maybe hundreds of years ago, one man or woman somewhere in remote part of Africa(something tells me the man/woman must have come from Nigeria), after eating a heavy plate of fufu and okro soup with some fresh fish, went to bed, snored all night and when he/she woke up from his/her deep slumber came up with an idea. He or she must have said something in this line.
”Make una come o. I have found it. You remember that our discussion the other day on how to stop these little girls from running after men and having sex upandan?
And the villagers we chorus,
And the man/woman would have continued this way..
”Hmmm… After last night’s wonderful okro soup and well pounded fufu, I went to bed and by the time I opened my eyes, the answer was starring at me. You know that part that helps women enjoy sex? That part?
Typical of Africans, a lot of them would have gone quiet and pretended they’ve never had sex even when most of the people in attendance must have given birth to at least seven children. The man will charge them on one more time before they echoed ”yes, yes, that part.”
Since the man/woman had the floor, he would have gone ahead and boldly mentioned
”The cure for having sex upandan is in the vagina(there must be a coded name for it then). What we will do is to cut off that part of the vagina that makes sex to over sweet. So by so doing, we would have cut off the drive and penchant for sex.”
And the whole village would have applauded the man or woman and sung in his name. They would toasted to the wonderful idea with some special palm wine and might have even conferred some chieftaincy title on him/her some weeks later for good thinking. Hmmm
Female genital mutilation was a selfish idea started by humanity for their selfish end albeit ignorantly. Sex is a product of the state of mind and carried out using sex organs. Promiscuity is also a state of mind not a function of sex organs. Penises and vagina are only used after the idea had reached maturity. It is the same for guys, sex takes place first in the head or the mind if you like, before the actual action. So African parents, if you are looking to curb promiscuity, I have another idea for you; attack the mind for that is where everything happens and not the poor girl’s vagina.
I don talk my own. Talk your own in the comment box.