Saturday, October 15, 2011

Female Genital Mutilation: Running the numbers

From an article by Wendy Rose Gould;

1,400: The number of years that female genital mutilation has been performed, though some references estimate that girls have endured FGM for up to 2000 years. The practice begun during what Muslims refer to as the "era of ignorance."

3: The different types of female genital mutilation. The three include circumcision, or amputation of the clitoris; excision, removal of the labia minora and clitoris; and infibulation, the removal of labia majora, clitoris and labia minora. Girls who receive the latter often have their wounds stitched together will only a tiny opening for urination. In addition to these types, the vagina may also undergo pricking, piercing, incisions, scraping, burning or be introduced to corrosive substances and herbs to tighten the opening.

135 million: The number of girls and women worldwide who've experienced gential cutting. Consequences of FGM range from urinary infections to HIV to sterility to death.

92 million: The number of African girls who are 10 years old and above that have had their genitals removed.

3 million: The number of girls who are at risk of undergoing FGM annually.

7 and 10: The most common period of time in a woman's life to undergo FGM, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

10 - 14: The number of days that girls legs are bound after undergoing female genital mutilation. The legs are bound to make the girls immobile, which allows scar tissue to form.

25: The number of countries that have banned FGM and prosecute those who continue the practice.

171: The number of countries in the world that do not ban female genital mutilation.

Ms. Gould's work has appeared both online and in print for Hearst, Conde Nast, AOL, USA Today and other publications. She is an avid traveler who has lived abroad and traveled the world extensively. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and another in Philosophy.

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