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Female Gential Mutalition

.. ions, many girls will develop pelvic inflammatory disease. Some of the infections are due to urine and menstrual retention. Directly following the excision, the girl will almost always have urine retention. This is due to the swelling of the tissues, which causes severe pain during urination.

When the girl holds her urine in like this, it can cause urinary tract infections. In addition to retaining urine, she might also retain menstrual blood. The opening that is left behind is at times too small for the blood to escape; thus there is a retention of menstrual blood (Rushwan). After experiencing this operation, many girls find that menstruating alone is intensely torturous. Indeed, some may pass out from the pain (Cheakalos and Heyn). Over a longer period of time, other problems can occur from this ghastly tradition.

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One such major problem is the formation of keloids and cysts. Keloids can cause problems with intercourse and with delivering babies (Rushwan). Keloids can make it impossible to consummate a marriage; the man can not penetrate the vagina as a result of the keloids. Infact, in many cases, when the man tries to penetrate he will cause lacerations to his penis. The only way to correct this is to have the keloids removed. The formation of cysts is also a problem. Cysts can result from external skin being sewn into the circumcision wound.

These cysts can grow to become huge masses and can form abscesses. In addition, they will almost always require surgery to be removed and they can get infected. Both of these problems can cause damage to the urinary canal, vagina, and to the rectum (Rushwan). Rushwan also says that stones, which are formed from menstrual debris and urinary deposits, can cause similar damage. He says it will cause tears in the tissue that separates the vagina from the urinary tract, and in the tissue that separate the vagina from the rectum. These tears cause urine and feces to leak out of the girl. In addition to physical problems, this custom can also cause psychological problems. Girls who experience this mutilation can encounter anxiety, depression, neuroses, and psychoses, a total change or disorganization of their personality (Rushwan).

To say the least, this tradition causes a great deal of harm to generations of girls. It has begun to be seen as a form of child abuse in many countries. Exactly what is the reason for these parents having their baby girls endure such pain and humiliation. FGM is a tradition practiced mainly in African countries. It is believed that clitorictomies were used among high social ranking people in Ethiopia and Egypt during the fifth century BC.

However, infibulation was usually performed on slave girls to ensure that they remained virgins. This was because virgin slave girls would receive a high price when sold or traded (Female Genital Mutilation) There are numerous reasons why this tradition is still practiced. One such reason that dates back to one hundred years ago says that clictorictectomies were prescribed to help cure aches and pains, I guess you could say it would be our equivalent of Tylenol. It was also believed that clictorictectomies were even suppose to help remedy emotional disturbances, an approach to helping psychological disturbances that Freud never thought of (One Hundred Years Ago). Other sources say that due to droughts and there not being enough water for everyone, clictorictectomies were used as a way to control the population (Female Genital Mutilation).

Women, who have been mutilated in this manner, would find it very difficult and painful not only to have sex, but also to deliver a child. In addition, it was also believed that an uncircumcised woman was nasty and not suitable for marriage (Cheakalos and Heyn). Even today the same feelings toward women who are not circumcised are present. An uncircumcised woman is often the outcast of the village. She may not be invited to ceremonies and quite often will never get married.

Thus the consequences of either having the operation done or not puts a tremendous psychological strain on these young girls. According to Althaus, a woman being circumcised is a necessity to the religious beliefs, society, and culture of the people in these African countries. He also said that it was a tradition that was used to prepare young girls for womanhood, a rite of passage. Many members of the Muslim faith have considered FGM to be a requirement of their faith; however, Muslim theologians have constantly rebutted this belief. Moreover, this tradition is rarely seen to be practiced in the area where the Muslim faith first begun. Nonetheless, fifty percent of men surveyed in the Sudan said that female genitalia mutilation was a requirement for the Muslim faith (Rushwan). There are other reasons for FGM that have nothing to do with religion but instead are based on aesthetics.

Some view the vagina as ugly and perform FGM to remove the unattractive parts of the females natural structure (Gregory). Some cultures believe that if a womans genitals are not circumcised, they will begin to grow. It is believed that the female clitoris will grow long enough to touch her thighs. Thus, when it is time for her to have sex, the man will not be able to enter because of her own erection (Walker 23). When mothers were asked why they still continued to have this tradition performed on their daughters, they said that they thought what they were doing was helping their daughter (Gregory). This is believed due to the fact that uncircumcised girls are considered to be social outcasts. Forty-one percent of the women asked in the Sudan said that female genitalia mutilation is a good tradition, it improves a girls chance for marriage, it improves fertility and morality, and it protects virginity.

This horrendous mutilation usually occurs on children between the ages of four and twelve (Marble). However, it has also been performed on infants and adults (Rushwan). Many times, if the midwife delivering a baby notices that the woman has not been circumcised, she will go ahead without the womans consent and perform the operation. Traditionally, the people who perform this procedure are birth attendants, midwives, or elderly woman in the village. All of these women have experience in doing the operation however; hardly any of them have medical training (Rushwan). Despite how unprepared, how unhygienic, or what problems, physical and mental FGM causes these families continue to perform this ritual due to social pressures and there culture.

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