Male Genital Mutilation is Just as Important an Issue as Female Genital Mutilation

Genital mutilation of both genders tends to be carried out without anaesthesia in unsanitary surroundings by a butcher with no medical training, and is therefore a dangerous procedure with horrific consequences. Death is not uncommon. Nor is penile amputation.

Foreskins are not a birth defect. Removing a piece of skin does not make you a man. Narrowing the opening of the vagina or performing clitorectomies does not guarantee a girl or woman will be physically or emotionally faithful to her husband.

These procedures are forced on their victims. Baby boys cannot consent. Neither can little girls, the majority of whom are under the age of 15 when they are held down by their close relatives while they scream and fight. Even grown men are not safe. In Kenya they are captured, stripped and pinned down to be circumcised.

In South Africa in 2012, 5 penile amputations plus 300 others were hospitalized due injuries sustained related to male circumcision. And in a three-week period 42 boys died from the procedure.

For girls, long-term problems include infertility, recurring bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts and further surgeries to widen the vaginal opening to allow for sex and childbirth.

Haemorrhaging (blood loss), septicaemia (blood poisoning), shock, urine retention and open sores are other potentially lethal complications for both genders.

Maiming and killing people in the name of tradition is wrong. Force or coercion through peer pressure is wrong. These are sadistic practices performed on our most vulnerable and it should stop.

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