International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

2017 Theme: “Building a solid and interactive bridge between Africa and the world to accelerate ending FGM by 2030.”

The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is an awareness campaign to end a harmful practice that violates girls’ and women’s rights. The UN first officially commemorated the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, 2003. .Various activities and events are held on February 6 each year to promote the UN’s campaign to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

About 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM and 3 million girls are at risk each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. This practice is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death. The procedure can have significant long and short term health implications (including immediate fatal haemorrhaging, severe pain and shock, urine retention, infections, sexual dysfunction and complications in pregnancy and child birth). In addition to these health consequences, there are considerable psycho-sexual, psychological and social consequences of FGM.

The reasons why communities practice female genital mutilation vary, but generally female genital mutilation is associated with traditions or customs based on controlling a woman’s sexuality. Many families and communities believe that female genital mutilation is a rite of passage. A girl in a community where female genital mutilation is routinely practiced may be socially excluded and unable to marry if she has not had the procedure. In addition to the intense social pressure, there is significant economic pressure to subject girls to female genital mutilation. There are economic benefits to having a daughter married, and the rituals associated with female genital mutilation provide a source of income for many people.

In addition to the physical and emotional consequences, FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.  It robs communities of the full contributions of women and girls and limits the capacity and ability of women and girls to reach their potential. It therefore limits country development and efforts to reduce poverty.

  • Click here for key facts about FGM.
  • Click here to read the World Health Organization’s full report on FGM.
  • Click here for more info about FGM and Violence Against Women

FGM as a Form of Domestic Violence 

FGM differs from most forms of violence against girls and women in that women are not only the victims but also involved in perpetration. A girl’s female relatives are normally responsible for arranging FGM, which, in turn, is usually performed by traditional female excisers. FGM is also increasingly being done by male and female health-care providers. This feature of FGM illustrates how both women and men can be complicit in reinforcing gender norms and practices that support violence against women. FGM also differs from most other forms of violence against women in that, in practicing communities, it is done routinely on almost all girls, usually minors, and is promoted as a highly valued cultural practice and social norm.

FGM has rarely been abandoned when programs against the practice have been perceived by the community as attacking and criticizing local culture and values, and/or as driven by outsiders. Evaluations suggests that reinforcing positive cultural values can be more effective, as can supporting community dialogue aimed at finding ways to signify a girl’s coming of age that do not involve cutting. Furthermore, there is evidence that a combination of community empowerment and education, public pledges to stop the practice, national dialogue, and increasing commitment to international human rights can bring about transformative social change to reduce and perhaps someday end this practice.

Free Yourself Global: Healing Families; Ending Domestic Violence

At Transcendent Media Capital we are committed to raising awareness on a number of social justice issues in order to foster dialogue and bring about transformative social change. Our main campaign, Free Yourself Global, explores the enculturation of violence through families over generations, and how does one, whether the abuser or the abused, interrupt the pattern of violence? This for-profit campaign will contribute over half the proceeds directly to our affiliate organizations combating this pandemic and supporting victims and recovering abusers. We also aim to connect these groups to share resources, tools, ideas, and collaborate. Currently organizations from over 68 countries around the world have officiated their support of Free Yourself.

More importantly, this initiative hopes to bring together all of the voices of the participants of domestic violence, including recovering abusers, victims, children, educators, support agencies and health professionals, law enforcement agencies, politicians, celebrities and social entrepreneurs who work to aid in this cause. It is in this aim that “Free Yourself” inspires us. When all stakeholders come together in a grass roots forum, we strengthen our ability to understand, address, and end the cycle of domestic abuse.

For more information on how to become involved in this breakthrough campaign, email info@freeyourselfglobal.com. You can also check out our website freeyourselfglobal.com and find us on facebook and instragram @FreeYourselfGlobal. Share your story or thoughts with us using the hashtag #FreeYourselfGlobal or anonymously through our website.

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