COVID-19 is having both short-term and far-reaching
our families, friends and colleagues. It also has an impact on our work, and
will affect the achievement of our shared vision of a world without violence
As the virus continues to spread
across the world, we are all facing multiple new stresses, including physical
and psychological health risks, school and business closures, family
confinement, isolation and economic vulnerability.
Children are particularly vulnerable
during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Quarantine
measures imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic are putting girls and
women at heightened risk of violence in the home and cutting them off from
essential protection services and social networks.
Economic stress on families due to
the outbreak can put children, and in particular girls, at greater risk of
exploitation, child labour and gender-based violence. Most especially FGM. Global
lockdowns also lock down girls’ autonomy, reinforcing the attitudes and practices
that regard girls as second class and hold them back.
Every year 3 million girls and women
are at risk of FGM and are therefore exposed to the potential negative health
consequences of this harmful practice. FGM has no known health benefits, and
those girls and women who have undergone the procedure are at great risk of
suffering from its complications throughout their lives.
The procedure of FGM is painful and
traumatic, and is often performed under unsterile conditions by a traditional
practitioner who has little knowledge of female anatomy or how to manage
possible adverse events.
Moreover, the removal of or damage
to healthy genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body
and may cause severe immediate and long-term negative health
consequences. FGM violates a person’s rights to health, security and
physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment. It is also a violation of the right to life when the
procedure results in death.
The family is an intimate domestic
group made up of people related to one another by bonds of blood, sexual mating
or legal ties. It is the smallest and most basic social unit, which is also the
most important primary group found in any society.
It is the simplest and most
elementary group found in a society. It is a social group consisting of a
father, mother and one or more children. It is the most immediate group a child
is exposed to.
In fact, it is the most enduring
group, which has tremendous influence on the life of an individual from birth
The Family also accounts for the
most enduring social relationship found in society.A family, which is usually
made up of people who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption, is very
important to most Nigerians and Africa at large.
Family is one of the most important
relationships a person can have in their life. Whether it’s nuclear or extended
family relations, it is equally important to maintain and establish strong
connections with them.
In contexts where FGM
is a social norm, families and individuals
uphold the practice because they believe
that their group or society expects them to do so. Abandonment of the practice requires a process
of social change that results in new expectations on families.
Families must therefore work together to protect all
children and act now to prevent and mitigate each of the risks they might face
during the #COVID19 lockdown.
Most FGM practicing communities
believes that female genital is to ensure that a girl behaves properly, saves
her virginity until she gets married and then stays faithful to her husband.
Instead of thinking about performing
FGM to achieve that believe, they can educate their children on moral values
during the #COVID19 lockdown.
Families can also use the #COVID19
lockdown to talk to other relatives during their leisure phone conversations on
the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation.
The COVID19 lockdown is not an
opportunity for FGM rather it another opportunity for parents to bond with their children and teach
them moral values.
we close, we would like to share a brief overview of Female Genital Mutilation
(FGM) for the benefit of those joining our tweet conference for the first time.
Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or
total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital
organs for non-medical reasons. @WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies
FGM into four types, and all four types are all practiced in Nigeria.
partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy).
Subgroups of Type I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce
only; type Ib, removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.
II: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or
without excision of the labia majora (excision). Subgroups of Type II FGM are:
type IIa, removal of the labia minora only; type IIb, partial or total removal
of the clitoris and labia minora; type IIc, partial or total removal of the
clitoris, labia minora & labia majora.
III: narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by
cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or
without excision of the clitoris (infibulation). Subgroups of Type III FGM are:
type IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and
apposition of the labia majora.
is covered under this definition. This is a procedure to recreate an
infibulation, for example after childbirth when defibulation is necessary.
IV: unclassified – all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for
nonmedical purposes, for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and
cauterization. Type IV also includes the
practice of “massaging” or applying petroleum jelly, herbal concoctions or hot
water to the clitoris to desensitize it or pushing it back into the body, which
is common in many parts of Nigeria, especially Imo State.
no known health benefit, and is harmful to girls and women. It involves
altering, removing and/or damaging otherwise healthy female genital tissue.
estimated that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the
effects of FGM, and every year some 3 million girls and women are at risk of
FGM and are therefore exposed to its potential negative health consequences
Nigeria, the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) revealed that 20% of
women aged 15-49 years had undergone FGM, a decrease from 25% (NDHS 2013).
point, I will stop the conversation so we can reflect on the key points
discussed as I entertain any questions.
for being part of the conversations today. Join us every other Thursday 5-7pm.
Visit our www.endcuttinggirls.org for
more info and updates on FGM, and kindly follow the handle “@Endcuttinggirls”
on all social media platforms.