17 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob17 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                       wwwxiiste og
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)
Vol.17, 2013

Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia: Health and Human Right


                                Solomon Masho Atomsa' and M.V.R. Raju2
           I.Lecturer at Ambo University, Ethiopia and Research Scholar at Andhra University, India
                        Email: - solomonmasho @ gmail.com or atomsa91 @ yahoo.com
                           2.Professor at Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India
                                     Email: - mraju14@rediffmail.com

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice performed in different parts of the world, although the
type and its prevalence may be different, affecting the wellbeing of millions of women and children. As tradition
is interwoven into the identity of a given community, ending any traditional practice is possible only when the
practicing community really understands the need for change and be committed for the same. The objective of
this article was to assess the knowledge level of people in Gindeberet District of Oromia Regional State
(Ethiopia) regarding the negative health effects of FGM on women and children and also its being violation of
their human right. The study also aimed at identifying risk factors associated with the practice of FGM in the
study area. Differences in level of awareness based on educational level and personal accounts of females who
were subjected to FGM were also examined. Sample for the study included 148 residents of four villages of
Gindeberet district, 208 grade 12 students and community opinion leaders of the selected villages. The study
shows that (76.96%) and (65.74%) of the participants were aware that FGM affects the health of women and
violates their human rights respectively. Educational level is found to be associated with awareness about the
fact that FGM affects the health of women and children and violates their human rights. In the study area, single
instrument is used on multiple girls for mutilation and the material used to do the procedure is not properly
sterilized, hence increasing the chance of the victims to contract infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS. Great
majority of female participants who were subjected to the practice indicated that they have negative feelings
associated with the procedure.
Key words: - Female Genital Mutilation, Traditional practice, Human right, Health, Ethiopia

Female genital mutilation is a traditional practice that involves cutting or altering the female genitalia as a rite of
passage or for other socio-cultural reasons (Population Reference Bureau, 2001). Female genital cutting refers to
practices that involve the surgical manipulation of the female genitalia (Kathryn and Bisrat, 2007). According to
Rahman and Toubia (2000), FGM constitutes all procedures, which involve partial or total removal of the
external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-
therapeutic reasons.
There are different forms of FGM practiced in different cultures and Population Reference Bureau (2001)
indicated that in 1995, the World Health Organization classified FGM into four broad categories/types:
Type I- Clitoridectomy- is a type of FGM that involves partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce
Type II- Excision- this category of FGM refers to the procedure of removing the clitoris together with all or part
          of the labia minora.
Type III - Infibulation- is the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia (clitoris, labia minora and
          labia majora) and stitching and narrowing of the vaginal opening, leaving a small hole for urine and
          menstrual flow.
Type IV- Unclassified- the unclassified category of FGM includes all harmful procedures to the female genitalia
          for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
    *   Piercing, pricking or incision involves making small holes into the clitoris and/or labia of girls with
         sharp pointed object.
    *    Scraping is the scratching of the vaginal orifice by a rough surface to cause bleeding
    *   Cauterization is the act of burning the clitoris and surrounding tissues by heated instruments
Three different terminologies are commonly used to describe the procedures performed on female genitalia.
These are: Female Circumcision, Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and Female Genital Mutilation. Authors who
prefer the term female genital cutting to the two terminologies argue that female circumcision minimizes the
severity of the surgery and female genital mutilation is viewed as judgmental and pejorative. It means that the
two are extremes and female genital cutting is sort of average one. They also contend that female genital cutting
is a more neutral term describing what takes place.
Whatever form it takes and whatever name is given to the non therapeutic procedure performed on the female

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