Female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Cutting (FGC), is a cultural practice that consists of the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. It can either involve the removal of the clitoris, or in more extreme cases the removal of the external genitalia.
This is most painful, as imagined, and can lead to dire consequences such as hemorrhaging, infections, problems with urinating, painful sex, gynecological troubles, greater incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, and severe emotional trauma.
This practice is usually done on girls between the ages of 4 and 12. It is generally performed in central Africa, in the southern Sahara, and in parts of the Arab peninsula, according to the WomensHealth.gov website. It is not solely associated with Islam for Christians and Jews in these areas have also circumcised their daughters, according to the above website.
More than 130 million girls and women have undergone this circumcision and more than two million are at risk of having it done to them every year. With data from the 2000 census, the African Women's Health Center maintains that 228,000 women in the US have either undergone FGC or are at risk of having it done.
In Part 2, I will talk about the reasons for female circumcision and why it is a human rights issue.