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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Is FGM right or wrong?
Somali girl about to have FGM
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice in some African countries. In others, it is banned. Do you think it should be allowed?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about a 100m women worldwide have undergone the procedure, which happens to 3m girls under 10 every year.

FGM - a procedure which involves the partial or total removal of the external genital organs - is reportedly practised in 28 African countries.

Tradition and a sense of belonging are some of the main reasons named by supporters as reasons to continue the practice, who prefer to call it female genital cutting or female circumcision.

Anti-FGM campaigners argue there are significant health hazards, such as severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, infection, urine retention and ulceration of the genital area.

Have you undertaken FGM or another form of circumcision? Why? What have been the consequences for you? Do you think it should be banned? If it is banned, why does it still continue in some communities?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

I find it more offensive that countries like the US have implemented laws which mean that FGM is a criminal offence, even with a woman's consent - not just minor's but adult women. As a woman, I find this every much as an affront as forcing young girls into the practice. Women's rights to bodily integrity should also involve freedom of choice and expression.
Radha, New York

Every day, we remove parts of culture that are not conducive to our lives, so why is this different?
Toni, Nigeria/South Africa

That this practice exists in today's society is shocking. As an African woman and Christian, I am unequivocally opposed to it. Why is it that it is fine for a man to derive pleasure from sex inside and outside of a marriage but not a woman? It is NOT the same as male circumcision - it denies women the right to choose this for themselves, through exclusion if the girl refuses and through the actual act or removing the clitoris. Thirdly, as to the point that is part of culture - everyday, we remove parts of culture that are not conducive to our lives, so why is this different?
Toni, Lagos, Nigeria/ Cape Town, South Africa

FGM is a barbaric practice that was designed to deny women sexual pleasure. It's an act that I as an African do not agree with it. It demeans the African woman. It's only fair to ban it.
Felix, Kampala, Uganda

If the practise is wholly without merit eventually people will choose not to get it done
CR Zimba, Zambia

What's the difference between this practise and various plastic surgeries performed on patients in the western hospitals for so-called cosmetic reasons? The freedom to choose! I only disagree with the practise if it is carried out by force. Don't ban, offer alternatives. If men can get circumcised in a safe environment at the hospital, women who want to carry on in the tradition of their forefathers should be given the option as well. If the practise is wholly without merit eventually people will choose not to get it done. Let's not force our values onto others.
CR Zimba, Zambia

I come form a community that glorifies and carries out this archaic and barbaric practice. What annoys me as a fighter of FGM is the way our girls in my community glorify this culture, saying that if you do not undertake it you are not a woman enough. This thing should be banned for it is a major cause of many deaths among our young ladies.
Maseme Machuka, Nairobi, Kenya

A new strategy on FGM recognises the need for ritual, but limits the procedure to an incision of the clitoral hood. This seems to be a suitable measure for limiting harm to the woman in question, whilst still fulfilling a demand that is unlikely to be eradicated in the next few years.
Tristam Barrett, Den Haag

I am very strongly opposed to FGM. It is an age-old tradition of men forcing their will on women. It is time Africa woke up and recognised women have the right to be their own person. Even if a woman becomes promiscuous, so what? What gives you the right to mutilate her because you want her to live the way you think is right? Sex education, rather than destroying a girl's life, is the way forward.
Ern, UK

I personally do not find anything wrong with it. If you are a female, they will tell that it makes you feel like a woman i.e. to feel the impact of sex with a man.
Amadi Ikechukwu, Lagos, Nigeria

I always feel ashamed to see we Africans trying to undo what God has done
Dunkwa Jabpotin, Sunyani Polytechnic, Ghana

I always feel ashamed to see we Africans or some people trying to undo what God has done. God Himself knows why He created women like that and so I do not see the reason why we try to inflict pain and agony to others. There are so many adversities of FGM like transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, not forgetting the psychological trauma that the victims undergo. Therefore, FGM should be stopped, and those found guilty of such offences should be punished accordingly.
Dunkwa Jabpotin, Sunyani Polytechnic, Ghana

Even though I feel that FGM causes pain, but I still think it is needed to protect our children. So we need to do so, because sex orientation can't stop child pregnancy, which are common in Western countries. Finally FGM is healthy and clean and you can trust your future wife.
Hussein Salaad Wehelie, Minnesota, USA

FGM is definitely wrong. However, activists leading the campaign against FGM have failed to understand the cultures behind the practice, and their ignorance is dangerous. Legislation, particularly the criminalization of FGM and other external pressures that do not take local culture into account, can have deadly consequences.
Anonymous, Boston, USA

Female genital mutilation is a harmful and dangerous practice, which should be stopped immediately! It is like removing the brain box of a car. Such car will malfunction and become insensitive.
Ashipa James Olashupo, Abuja, Nigeria

Men can force women to rebel against this primitive practice by refusing to have sex with circumcised women. I quit sleeping with circumcised women and ask other men to follow suit to compel women to lead the fight against senseless FGM.
Bosire Mosi, United States

It is the belief that if FGM is not performed on a woman, she could become promiscuous
Omorodion Osula, Boston

I have witnessed FGM on numerous occasions while growing up in Benin, Nigeria. Some of those girls are mothers now and I have not heard of any medical issues with them. Things are likely to go wrong when performed by a quack. FGM is an old aged tradition in most African societies and it will take years of education before it is completely eradicated. It is the belief that if FGM is not performed on a woman, she could become promiscuous when she becomes an adult. Hence, the partial removal of the clitoris.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

FGM is barbaric, uncouth and savage. It should not have any place in modern society. Governments and campaigners should increase their educational campaigns on the hazards. If this does not work, long jail sentences should be an antidote.
Ouborr Kutando, Ghana


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