Ninety-two percent of married women in Egypt have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM), a new report finds, despite the fact that it is illegal in Egypt. It found that 30 per cent of married women their believe the practice should be banned – but more than half were in favor of the procedure for religious reasons
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), is a traditional practice to partially or completely remove the outer sexual organs, it is mainly practiced in Africa and in a few countries in the Middle East (Yemen, Kurdish communities, Saudi Arabia) and Asia.
The rate of female circumcision in rural places is extremely high – almost 95 percent while in urban areas it reaches 39.2 percent, the minister said.
Some believe the genitals will be ‘unclean’ if the female does not have FGM. There is also a common belief that women need to have FGM to have babies. But, infact, FGM can cause infertility and an increased risk of childbirth complications. The procedure is often carried out by a woman with no medical training. Anaesthetics and antiseptic treatments are not generally used and the practice is usually carried out using knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and infections, which can last the woman’s entire lifetime.
In 2008 FGM was already banned in Egypt and Egypt’s Penal Code has a specific laws against the circumcision of girls, the offenders caught performing FGM will be punished by a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds or a prison sentence that ranges from three months to two years.
Riona Marie Magbutay
Leyte Normal University