*WARNING: CONTAINS DESCRIPTION OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION WHICH IS QUITE GRUESOME*
FGM (female genital mutilation) is performed on young girls before going through puberty. It is the practise of removing inner and outer labia and usually the clitoris as well. This has absolutely no medical benefits and can cause a lot of both short term and harm including severe bleeding, kidney and liver problems, problems urinating, problems during pregnancy and still births, infection, and sometimes death. It also nearly completely eliminates the possibility of pleasurable sex and can actually cause sex to be a very painful experience.
As well as serving no medical purpose, FGM is a very dangerous and painful procedure. It is performed on young girls between infancy and fifteen-years-old. It is done by force and sometimes includes being tied to a table and is very rarely done with any sort of pain medication. It is often performed in poor conditions. It is not usually carried out by a medical professional and is often done by using a scalpel, knife, razor blades, scissors, or even broken glass. This can lead to terrible infections, severe bleeding, shock and even death.
This practise started as an attempt to control women's sexuality and enhance male pleasure. FGM essentially eliminates any pleasure a woman would feel during sex so it is believed this would prevent them from having sex outside of marriage and keep them faithful to their husbands. Over time it became a cultural norm and expectation, much like how male circumcision became popular in the West even though it serves no medical purpose.
It is groundbreaking that Sudan has now made this horrific practise illegal as up until this point 87% of all Sudanese women were having this procedure done. It will take a while for the process to be completely eliminated as it is so engrained in their culture, however those who are found to be performing "cutting" will now face punishment. This is an incredible step that will help save tens of thousands of lives, and a mile stone worth celebrating on behalf of the millions of women who will not have to endure this torture.