The Effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - UNICEF


According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),  Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM has been practised in many of Nigeria communities over the years, especially the South-East, South-South and South-West of Nigeria.

Critics of the practice say that it is embedded in ignorance and misrepresentation of culture.

Female Genital mutilation analysts says the practice constitutes human rights violation with long-term effects.

FGM is an infringement on the girl’s right to health, hence its health complications can retard the girl’s vision and dreams for greater future.

"The UNFPA FGM Analyst wondered why women could be singled out for such harmful practice thereby stifling their potential to live life to the fullest.

"It is a violation of the girl’s or woman’s human rights to choices and self-preservation,” she said at training for media professionals on FGM.

Experts say infibulation involves the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal.

According to them the seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching.

“Type 1: Also known as clitoridectomy, consists of partial or total removal of the external part of the clitoris and/or its prepuce (clitoral hood).

“Type 2: Also known as excision, the external part of clitoris and labia minora are partially or totally removed, with or without excision of the labia majora.

“Type 3: It is also known as infibulation or pharaonic type. The procedure consists of narrowing the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting the labia minora and/or labia majora, with or without removal of the external part of clitoris.

“The appositioning of the wound edges consists of stitching or holding the cut areas together for a certain period of time (for example, girls’ legs are bound together), to create the covering seal.

“A small opening is left for urine and menstrual blood to escape.

“Type 4: This type consists of all other procedures to the genitalia of women for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterisation,” she said.

Gender advocates say the practice has remained because those who carry them out had not been penalised by the authorities and call for the implementation of relevant laws to end the practice.

UNFPA report says that about 14.8 million girls and women are at the risk of being cut in future with 19.9 million girls in Nigeria having gone through the practice already.

It is estimated that some 200 million girls and women globally have undergone some form of female genital mutilation.

UNFPA estimates that globally, 68 million girls are at risk of being mutilated between 2015 and 2030.

The practice could lead to fatalities during birth as result of the tightness of the birth canal which could have been stitched during FGM.

“During birth, the scar tissue might tear, or the opening needs to be cut to allow the baby to come out”, 

That FGM practice is a crime against humanity especially the women and the girls.

“After childbirth, women from some ethnic communities are often sown up again to make them “tight” for their husband.

It causes in painful scar tissue with damaging effects.

FGM could result in death through severe bleeding and neurogenic shock as a result of pain and trauma.

It could triggers overwhelming infection and septicaemia.

The pain inflicted by FGM often continue as ongoing torture throughout a woman’s life.

The cutting women experience causes various long-term effects, such as physical, sexual and psychological.

As the society battles FGM, overcoming the challenges depends largely on smooth partnership among stakeholders, including religious groups such as development partners, health workers, civil society and the media. NAN News