Before we proceed with our topic on VAC, it is important that we understand what (FGM) Female Genital Mutilation is.  

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.  

FGM has been classified into 4 types by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO classifies FGM into four categories with subdivisions.

FGM Type 1: partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy).

The 2 subdivisions are;

a)FGM Type 1a: removal of the prepuce/clitoral hood (circumcision) and

b)FGM Type 1b: removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.

FGM Type 2: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).

The 3 subdivisions are of FGM Type 2 are;

a)FGM Type 2a: removal of the labia minora only;  

b)FGM Type 2b: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora; and   

c)FGM Type 2c: partial or total removal of the clitoris, the labia minora and the labia majora.   

10. FGM Type 3: Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with the creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without excision of the clitoris (infibulation).

The 2 subdivisions are;

a)FGM Type 3a: removal and appositioning the labia minora with or without excision of the clitoris; and  

b)FGM Type 3b: removal and appositioning the labia majora with or without excision of the clitoris.  

FGM Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.   

It is estimated that over 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with or at risk of suffering the associated negative health consequences of FGM.   

Every year 3 million girls and women are at risk of FGM and are therefore exposed to the potential negative health consequences of this harmful practice.   

FGM has no known health benefits, and those girls and women who have undergone the procedure are at great risk of suffering from its complications throughout their lives.  

Almost all women who have undergone FGM experience pain and bleeding as a consequence of the procedure.  Immediate consequences of FGM include severe pain and bleeding, shock, difficulty in passing urine, infections, injury to nearby genital tissue and sometimes death.  

Later complications; Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), difficulty during child birth, Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and so many others.  

FGM of any type is Violence Against Children (girls and women). FGM is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways.  Violence against Children threatens not only children’s survival and health but also their emotional well-being and future prospects.  

Violence against children is widespread and pervasive and remains a harsh reality for millions of children.  Violence can be physical, sexual, and emotional and also manifest itself as neglect.  It can occur in homes, schools, care and justice systems, workplaces and communities.  

According to (WHO) Violence against children includes all forms of violence against people under 18 years old, whether perpetrated by parents or other caregivers, peers, romantic partners, or strangers.  

Globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year . FGM is a Right violation of the girl child is also a violation against females under 18 years old.  Experiencing violence in childhood impacts lifelong health and well-being.  There are different forms of Violence Against Children. These forms also affect the well-being of the child.  

According to (WHO) most violence against children involves at least one of six main types of interpersonal violence that tend to occur at different stages in a child’s development.  Emotional or psychological violence includes restricting a child’s movements, denigration, ridicule, threats and intimidation, discrimination, rejection and other non-physical forms of hostile treatment.  

Sexual violence includes non-consensual completed or attempted sexual contact and acts of a sexual nature not involving contact (such as voyeurism or sexual harassment); acts of sexual trafficking committed against someone who is unable to consent or refuse; and online exploitation.  Youth violence is concentrated among children and young adults aged 10–29 years, occurs most often in community settings between acquaintances and strangers, includes bullying and physical assault with or without weapons (such as guns and knives), and may involve gang violence.  

Bullying (including cyber-bullying) is unwanted aggressive behaviour by another child or group of children who are neither siblings nor in a romantic relationship with the victim.  

Maltreatment (including violent punishment) involves physical, sexual and psychological/emotional violence; and neglect of infants, children and adolescents by parents, caregivers and other authority. .  

Intimate partner violence (or domestic violence) involves physical, sexual and emotional violence by an intimate partner or ex-partner. Violence against any gender be it male or female can also be said to be Gender Base Violence which is also a violation of the human right.

Violence against children has lifelong impacts on health and well-being of children, families, communities, and nations.  The impact of violence against children cannot be left out.  

a. Result in death.  

b. Lead to severe injuries.  

c. Result in negative coping and health risk behaviours.  

d. Lead to unintended pregnancies.  

e. Contribute to a wide range of non-communicable diseases.  

Having a working strategy which will End VAC is worth implementing.  These strategies are as follows..  

  • Education and life skills (such as ensuring that children attend school, and providing life and social skills training).  
  • Implementation and enforcement of laws (for example, banning violent discipline and restricting access to alcohol and firearms).  
  • Norms and values change (for example, altering norms that condone the sexual abuse of girls or aggressive behaviour among boys).  
  • Safe environments (such as identifying neighbourhood “hot spots” for violence and then addressing the local causes through problem-oriented policing and other interventions).
  • Parental and caregiver support (for example, providing parent training to young, first time parents).  

At this point we can now entertain questions on FGM and VAC.  

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