No Matter The Traditional Persuasion, Circumcision Is Violence Against Women

...It Promotes Rather Than Curb Promiscuity – Dr Agala




Female genital mutilation popularly known as female circumcision has come under serious condemnation in the society. Not only is the act seen as an injustice done to a woman or girl child, but as one of the harmful and obnoxious practices carried out to dehumanize womanhood whether it is performed at infancy or adulthood.


The campaign to outlaw the practice has been the concern of every woman advocate and those who know the dire implications of the female circumcision.
Crystal Express in an interview with the chairperson of the Rivers State chapter of Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Dr Vetty Agala, sought an insight on issue; its possible ‘benefits’ and the consequences of female genital mutilation on women and girls.



Can we meet you please?


I am Dr Vetty Agala, the chair person of Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Rivers State .


So much has been said about female genital mutilation. What is it all about?
Female genital mutilation is the cutting that is done around the clitoris or any part of the female external genital for non-medical reasons. It is usually practised as a rite or tradition by most communities in Nigeria. Like in Aminigboko community in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State where I come from, it is still being practised till today. As a tradition, every woman from the community is made to do it in the sixth month of her pregnancy. The belief is that a woman who fails to do it will either die or have her children dead.


Did you do it? If no, how did you escapes it?


I did not do it. Of course I am educated and enlightened even though it’s not a good enough excuse as people return from abroad just to perform the rite and go back after having done it. We have well educated daughters of this community who still believe in this tradition of female genital cutting. In my own case, having gone to school and become a medical doctor, I realized that all they say about female genital cutting are myths. When I got married and was six months pregnant, my mother called me to come and perform the rite but I refused. I did not do it and today I have three sons and none of them died. So I am here to debunk all those reasons people give for female genital cutting. They also claim that it stops a woman from being promiscuous; that also is another lie. I didn’t do it and I am not promiscuous.


RELATED: A’Ibom Warns Against Breach of Child Rights Law, Female Genital Mutilation, Baby Factory

Remember that Female Circumcision Law makes it an offence for a female to be circumcised with or without her permission and also provides that no matter the belief or tradition of a particular community, no female shall be circumcised as such an act is an offence.
The practice is a violation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law.


Unfortunately, a lot of the things done in our communities are borne out of traditions that have been carried on over the years coupled with ignorance.


What do you think is responsible for the continued practice of female genital mutilation?


Poverty is one of the things promoting the act. Most of the women who perform the exercise in the community do it for a fee and I am of the opinion that empowerment of the women with skills can divert their energies and at the same time serve as a source of income.


Talking about the negative consequences of female genital mutilation, it causes difficulty in delivery because when the wound is healed, depending on the type of genital cutting that was done, the normal cervical stretching during labour becomes impossible leading to cervical tears.


More so, apart from being a painful process where a woman is held bound while the procedure is carried out, there is the danger of infection because the sharp instruments used in performing the obnoxious act are used on different women at the same time without any form of sterilization.


The claim that the female genital cutting is to reduce promiscuity on the part of the woman is a myth. This is because clitoris is the most sensitive part of the woman’s body and when it is cut, she is made sexually insensitive.


This implies that rather than making her stop desiring sex, she finds it difficult to be satisfied, hence she moves from one man to another in search of a man who can perform better; when in the actual sense, she has lost that sensitivity.
What then is the benefit of this act that subjects women to unbearable pains?
The truth remains that there is no value in female genital cutting at all, and instead of stopping promiscuity as claimed by those who practise it, it promotes it.
Unlike men’s circumcision that is biblical, improves their health, reduces urinary tract infections and helps them urinate better, female genital cutting poses a lot of problems including medical problems for women.


Female genital mutilation is a breach of Human Rights because Woman Rights are Human Rights. There is therefore urgent need to stop all forms of genital cutting, whether it is the full cut of the clitoris or part of it because it has no benefit. Remember that the Rivers State House of Assembly had in February 2020 passed into law the “Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill”, which means that it has become an offence and whosoever does it or aids it will be punished by the law.

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