Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriage: A Violent on the Health of the Girl-Child in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Female Genital Mutilation and Early Marriage: A Violent on the Health of the Girl-Child in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria

Article excerpt


Female genital mutilation and early marriage constitutes violence against women. It involves the use of or application of force, threat or aggression. Bukie (2003) described it as the use of force or the threat of it to cause emotional, mental, or physical pains, injury or degradation on a person. Around the globe today, traditional practices of this nature exist in different forms. Thus in every society, different degrees and forms of violence have become the order of the day affecting men and women, children and adults, young and old, rich and poor, and so on.

As already noted, the practice of violence in the world today exists in different forms. Thus, apart from terrorism, which have in recent times put many countries on the edge, another subtle but very alarming form of violence that is found in physically every society of today is violence against women or harmful traditional practices on the health of the girl-child.

Female genital mutilation and early marriage on women constitute a peculiar type of practice. Its peculiarity stems from the fact that women are the direct sufferers of this ugly practice that threatens or work against their emotional, physical, or mental wellbeing. It is any act of violence that is committed against women because they are women. The United Nations, under Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) gives a more comprehensive definition of female genital mutilation and early marriage on women as follows: Any act of gender-based violence that result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering to women, including threat of such act, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

According to Okolo (2005), in Nigeria, traditional practice against women occurs mainly inform of female genital mutilation, early and forceful marriage, male-child preference, rape, wife abuse, sexual harassment, widowhood practices, as well as the existence of little or no aspect of social life. In Nigeria also, besides children, most cases of ritual murder and trafficking involves women. Okolo (2005) further said, there also exist other religious, cultural and legal barriers against women which could be classified as violence against women. For instance, women are restricted from bailing offenders in police custody.

Traditional practice against women in all its forms in all places where it exists, poses serious hazards to women and also to the society even through society itself seems to be obvious of this. It threatens the well being of existence of women. It as well deters them from participating effectively in and contributing meaningful to social life.


Female Genital Mutilation and the Health of the Girl-Child

Female genital mutilation is a practice that could hardly be defined in a definite sense, the reason being that the practice takes different forms. The forms of female genital mutilation varies from one society to the other. However, in very simple terms, female genital mutilation could be said to mean a practice that involves tampering with the sense organs of a woman by excising or stitching a part or more of it, so much that injury or harm is inflicted on the woman in the process (Okolo, 2005).

According to Oroka (2004), some scholars merely describe female genital mutilation as the excision of a part or more of the female sense organ. This description however is narrowed because some forms of female genital mutilation go beyond mere excision. According to him, this is why the practice is described here as involving tampering with the female genital in such a way as the removal of clitoral prepuce, the complex or partial amputation of the clitoris and or the labia minora or even the labia majora. The description also covers the form of female genital mutilation that involves the stitching up of a larger part of the opening of the female sense organ, leaving a very tiny space for urine and menstrual flow. …

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