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FGM still affects many women in Senegal, professor claims

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is wreaking havoc in Africa, particularly in Senegal where it affects 26 percent of women aged between 15 and 49, Professor Abdoul Aziz Diouf of the University of Dakar tells the African Press Agency (APA).

This figure shows the extent of this ancestral practice, which the academic defines as “the total or partial removal of the external genitalia of women for non-therapeutic reasons.”

There are four types of FGMs. Type 1 is only the removal of the clitoris. Type 2 is the removal of the clitoris and more or less the labia minora or labia majora. Type 3 is infibulation. Finally, type 4 covers all other harmful procedures such as piercing, pricking, and incision.

“In Senegal, types 1 and 2 are the most common. In other countries such as Indonesia or Egypt, it is type 3. Cases differ according to geographical areas, countries or ethnic groups,” Professor Diouf explains.

He also says that the consequences of FGM are “immediate or long-term.”

For the first category of complications, Diouf cited “hemorrhage” since the section of the clitoris can lead to bleeding in the highly vascularized bulbar region. In addition, since excision is usually performed in places where hygienic conditions are not respected, “a simple local infection can spread throughout the body,” he adds.

As FGM is illegal in Senegal, it’s is conducted without anesthesia.

The second category of consequences is “gynecological complications” because the vagina can close during menstruation and anatomical distortions can make sexual intercourse difficult.

This specialist at the Pikine hospital (a suburb of Dakar) says that “the girl who has undergone FGM may have psychological problems that can lead to vaginismus, that is, the impossibility of having sex with her partner. And in many cases, this is a cause of divorce with disastrous consequences”.

He explains that during pregnancy, the FGM victim is exposed to dystocia leading to a laborious and painful delivery with a high risk of hemorrhage. In this case, the pregnant woman, the child or both may lose their lives.

Professor Diouf points out that they perform an average of “about fifteen operations” per year on women with complications from genital mutilation.

“Some women come for clitoral repair. But the rate is not high in African countries. This is because women who have been cut as children eventually become familiar with their clitoris,” he concludes.

– APA

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