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CIRCUMCISION AND FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

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MALE CIRCUMCISION

If the procedure is carried out correctly, by a medical professional under sterile conditions in a hospital, male circumcision can be healthy option as bacteria and fungi that reside under the foreskin are reduced. However, it is not a necessary procedure and complications can be bleeding, which is particularly dangerous for babies, pain, damage to the penis and loss of the top of the penis.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)

Female ‘circumcision’, on the other hand, is the very painful mutilation of the female clitoris and external genitalia which is one of the most highly sensitive parts of the body. It should be never be allowed because it will stop the female from ever being able to experience the pleasure of an orgasm. It is carried out on infants and young girls to preserve virginity until marriage and then to keep the her entirely under her future husband’s control. Victims are usually aged between four and ten, but some are babies.

Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures and takes place all over the world. Carried out in secret and often without anaesthetic it involves the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs. The practice is usually carried out using basic tools such as knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass and razor blades

This illegal and life-threatening initiation ritual can leave young victims in agony and can lead to serious bleeding,  problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth later on. There is absolutely no health benefit in removing the female clitoris and it is akin to removing the entire penis of a male.

The debilitating impact of female genital mutilation will have both physical and psychological effects that are irreversible and will last the child their entire lifetime. It has now become a serious criminal offence and prosecutions are taking place with UK Nationals and British Citizens now looking at 14 years in prison for promoting or practising it either in the UK or anywhere abroad including countries where it is still legal.

If you are worried that a child may be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation, or you are a child in need of immediate confidential help in the UK, contact the NSPCC 24 hour helpline anonymously on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development) is an African Diaspora women led UK-registered campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women.

They work in UK, Europe and Africa to help change practices and policies that affect access, dignity and wellbeing. They tackle female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and related rights of girls and young women. Visit their website for more information: forwarduk.org.uk

Clitoraid is a non profit organisation which helps to treat victims of Female Genital Mutilation: clitoraid.org


Infant Oral Mutilation

Some uneducated African people engage in a primitive traditional practise where the young tooth buds of babies and young children, from six months to three years of age, are gouged out using unsterile cutting instruments. They believe these natural tooth buds of new primary teeth to be worms and bad spirits causing ill health to the child.

This practice has severe and irreversible detrimental consequences for the secondary teeth and gums in later life.

The complications of infant oral mutilation include anaemia, pneumonia, meningitis and tetanus, as well as risk of transmission of blood born infections such as hepatitis B and HIV. In severe cases septicaemia can lead to death.

As well as being prevalent in Africa, this barbaric practise has now been seen in western countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA where Africans have relocated to.

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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