FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION- EFFECTS ON WOMEN AND YOUNG GIRLS

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ABSTRACT

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a term used to describe various traditional practices that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural and traditional reasons in many African societies. This research addresses the concept of this practice by looking at the different beliefs that support its continuation. The study focuses on the experiences of women, who know more about the practice, by looking at their flashbacks, the procedure, consequences involved before and after the mutilation, cultural beliefs, religious views on the practice, and the human rights that were violated by the practice of female genital mutilation.

The research result indicated that female genital mutilation is not only a practice experienced by African communities anymore. Female genital mutilation has spread to other parts of the world and it has become a global issue through the increased rates of immigration and search for better living standards. The study also found out that FGM was a practice performed on the girls and women due to cultural beliefs that female genital mutilation (FGM) is used to signify a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. To simplify that one is ready for marriage and other responsibilities that married women have, for instance taking care of the husband and bearing children. Other female genital mutilation consequences, which were revealed by the research, include the physical consequences, psychological consequences and social consequences, which occurred before and after the mutilation procedure.

In conclusion, female genital mutilation is a criminal offence according to legislation because it causes pain, violates the human rights and the health of women and puts girls at risk. Empowering people in the community with knowledge on the subject and providing the necessary resources will help eliminating the practice.


Key words: female genital mutilation, FGM consequences, interviews, Africa.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

1          INTRODUCTION
1.1 Study Area of the Thesis
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
1.3 Research Question

2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Consequences of FGM
2.2 Female Genital Mutilation and Sex intercourse
2.3 Religion
2.4 Human Rights and Female Genital Mutilation

3 FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION LAWS IN AFRICA
3.         1 Sudan
3.2 Somalia
3.3 Kenya
3.4 Ethiopia

4          BACKGROUND OF FGM
4.1 Classification of FGM
4.2 Unclassified

5          RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.1 Research Methodology
5.2 Study Location
5.3 Selection Criteria of the Participants
5.4 Research Participants
5.5 Procedure of Data Collection
5.6 Data Analysis
5.7 Reliability of the Data
5.8 Ethical Consideration

6          RESULTS
6.1 Flashbacks of the Women and FGM
6.2 Procedure
6.3 Health, Physical, Psychological and Sexual Consequences
6.4 Cultural Beliefs
6.5 Religious Views
6.6 Human Rights

7          DISCUSSION
7.1 Age and Tools
7.2 physical Consequences
7.3 Psychological Consequences
7.4 Sexual Consequences
7.5 Social Consequences

8          CONCLUSION
References
Appendix


1 INTRODUCTION

The topic of my thesis is female genital mutilation (FGM). Female genital mutilation refers to a variety of operations on the private parts of women and young girls that involves partial or total removal of the external genitalia. The practice causes injury to female genital organs for cultural or non- therapeutic reasons (WHO 2010).

The purpose of this research is to investigate the issue of female genital mutilation in Africa, as one of the biggest social problems that is affecting the majority of women and young girls. Female genital mutilation is recognized both internationally and locally to be an enduring tradition which is difficult to overcome because it violates the rights of women and young girls. The fact that those letting their children to undergo the procedure they do not know if they are violating the rights of the children because of the high level of illiteracy involved.

The main reason why I am writing this thesis about this topic is that during my studies in the “building society in diversity” course, I came across a book “Rethinking multiculturalism” by Parekh who was talking about “Rethinking multiculturalism and diversity. In his book about the different cultures from different countries, there was a particular chapter about female circumcision that caught my eye. After reading about it, I became interested in the topic and wanted to research more about it. What caught my eyes was when he said there was more than one type of female genital mutilation and I was not aware of it, although I come from one of the countries where female genital mutilation is practiced. I wanted to research more about the practice and gain more knowledge on it because as a community worker, there is a possibility to come across people affected by the practice and it will be good to offer help.


This is a sensitive topic, which needs to be addressed with great care, without affecting people’s feelings as it is touching on other people’s culture. Therefore, I interviewed women from four African countries where the practice has been going on for the last couple of years and is still going on. These countries are Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

1.1 Study area


As my area of study, I chose four African countries that practice female genital mutilation in large numbers. These countries include Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. In these countries, people are protective of their culture and some of the traditions. Female genital mutilation is practiced in one of those cultures that many are protective about and this is one of the reasons as to why people continue with the practice of female genital mutilation. The practice has spread to other parts of the world because of immigration it is soon becoming a global issue.

1.2 Aims and objectives of the study


The aim of this research paper is to introduce female genital mutilation to the field of social work and social services as one of the social problems that affects women and young girls who come from the developing countries. The problem has spread to other European countries as the immigrants carry it along with them as part of their culture. For this reason, the study aims to make the professionals of community development work aware of female genital mutilation effects, and deal with multicultural issues that are affecting children and families. In addition, professionals need to be ready to intervene at any time because the practice violates the human rights of women and girls in the context of child protection and women’s rights.


Objectives of the research include flashbacks from the practice of female genital mutilation. How the procedure is carried in their communities? Complications involved before and after undergoing the practice. How culture is influencing the continuation of the practice? The religious views, what different religious sects think of the practice and what they have done to stop it? What has been done to help the girls and women who are forced to undergo the procedure, and finally how the practice violates the rights of women and children...

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This is a General Thesis for both Undergraduate & Postgraduate Studies. The complete research material plus questionnaire and references can be obtained at an affordable price of N3,000 within Nigerian or its equivalent in other currencies.


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