On the 6th of February the International day of zero-tolerance for female genital mutilation was marked. Female genital mutilation is a term to describe the ritual removal (in whole or in part) of the outer female genetalia or the intentional infliction of wounds onto the female genetalia. Even though this practice is forbiden, no matter the regligious, cultural or other non-medical reasons, the medical mutilation still exists in practice. According the the World Health Organization (WHO), female genital mutilation of women represents a breach of fundamental human rights and a form of violence and gender based oppression. The real reasons of this practice can be found in patriarchal social norms, where the mutilation is pursued as a means of control over the female sexuality and the protection from loss of virginity before marriage.
It is estimated that 140 milion wives and girls across the world endures the procedure of female genital mutilation, most of which are living in 28 African and Middle-Eastern countries. From the total number of victims, around 500.000 are from Europe. The frightening consequences of female genital mutilation are fatal bleedings, blood poisioning, problems with emptying of the bladder, damage and infections of the urinary tract and kidneys, repeated urinary and vaginal infections, infertility, forming of cysts and complications during childbirth, painful and strong menstruations and various problems during sexual intercourse.
Despite of the present-day conventions and laws, the practice of female genital mutilation is still present and widespread in the world. An open conversation about this topic, as well as raising awareness of how this problem affects women and girls, and the frightening consequences it has, are just a few steps to be taken towards the abolishment of this practice. The marking of the International day of zero-tolerance for female genital mutilation is an important step in the awareness raising and education of the public and lawmakers across the world about this issue.