Eight out of 10 Egyptian women have undergone female genital mutilation. In Bani Suwaif, an imam and a priest have joined forces to campaign against the practice. But the bloody tradition is firmly embedded in people's minds. When it was over, the girls had to sit in hot water, then ash was scattered on their wounds.
Female genital mutilation: Why Egyptian girls fear the summer
Egypt takes aim at female genital mutilation - CNN
Female genital mutilation FGM , also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision , [a] is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, FGM is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond. In half the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five. They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans ; removal of the inner labia ; and removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva. In this last procedure, known as infibulation , a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid ; the vagina is opened for intercourse and opened further for childbirth. The practice is rooted in gender inequality , attempts to control women's sexuality , and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty. It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour and fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion.
‘I hate it. It hurts’ — Egyptian women talk about sex after female genital mutilation
Female genital cutting FGC is the collective name given to traditional practices that involve partial or total cutting away of the female external genitalia whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. FGC has traditionally been called female circumcision. Practices involving cutting of female genitals have been found throughout history in many cultures, but there is no definitive evidence documenting when or why this ritual began.
Many international groups are concerned about FGC, which is practiced extensively in parts of Africa and the Middle East and is linked to infections, infertility, and childbirth complications. Organizations such as the United Nations have campaigned against the practice, calling for its abolition as a matter of global health and human rights. But despite a decades-old movement against it, FGC rates in some countries haven't budged. While younger women are increasingly going uncut in countries such as Nigeria and the Central African Republic, according to a survey by the Population Reference Bureau , in Egypt more than 80 percent of teenagers still undergo the procedure. So what can foreign activists—as well as locals who oppose female genital cutting—do to curb the practice?