Controlling women’s sexuality – circumcision, FGM an option?
According to WHO, there are four different types of FGM and these four types are practiced in Nigeria:
Type one female genital mutilation
Also known as clitoridectomy. It is the most common and the least severe form of the practice. This involves the removal of the prepuce or the hood of the clitoris and all part of the clitoris.
Type two female genital mutilation
This is just a step ahead of type one. It involves the removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, which are partially or totally removed.
The degree of severity of cutting varies considerably in this type.
Type one and type two are more widespread but less harmful compared to type three.
Type three female genital mutilation
Type three or infibulations is the most severe form of FMG. It involves the removal of the clitoris, the Labia minora and adjacent medial part of the labia majora and the stitching of the vaginal orifice, leaving an opening of the size of a pin head to allow for menstrual flow or urine.
Type Four or other unclassified types recognized by WHO include introcision and gishiri cuts,pricking,pierching,or incision of the clitoris and/or labia, scraping and/or cutting of the vagina (angrya cut),stretching the clitoris and/or labia, cauterization, the introduction of corrosive substances and herbs in the vagina, and other forms.
Consequences of female genital mutilation
Research has shown that FGM has no health benefits for girls and women. Rather than benefits, victims suffer from pain and hemorrhage, infection and acute urinary retention following such trauma. .
There could also be damage to the urethra or anus while the victim is struggling during the procedure, making the extent of the operation dictated in many cases by chance.
Pelvic infections, acquired gynatresia resulting in hemaltocolpos, vulva adhesions, dysmenorrhea, retention cysts, and sexual difficulties with anorgasmia could also be complications.
Other complications arising from FGM include defibulation with bleeding, injury to urethra and bladder, injury to the rectum, and puerperal sepsis.
Prolonged labour, delayed second stage of labour and obstructed labour leading to fistulae formation and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality have all been associated with FGM.
The mental and psychological agony associated with FGM is deemed the most serious complication because the problem does not manifest outwardly for help to be offered. The young girl is in constant fear of the procedure and after the ritual she dreads sex because of anticipated pain and dreads childbirth because of complications caused by FGM. Such girls may not complain but end up become silenced, frigid and withdrawn resulting in marital disharmony.
A community health officer in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, Hajiah Ibrahim Adijat, agreed that female circumcision is basically done for cultural reasons and that it is believed that an uncircumcised girl child tends to become promiscuous.