By: Amela Tokić
On October 9th, 2021, community-led movement End FGC Singapore, which strives to empower Muslim communities in Singapore to end the practice of female genital cutting (FGC), hosted a virtual event to bring more attention to the medical impact and medicalization of FGC.
Saza Faradilla, co-founder of End FGC Singapore and facilitator of the event, introduced the historical background of FGC in Singapore and the rise of FGC medicalization. Guest speaker Dr. Ida Ismail-Pratt shared her medical perspective on the sexual, physical, and psychosocial impacts of medicalized FGC on women and girls. While the full event will not be published, End FGC Singapore will be sharing snippets on its Instagram page.
The Medical Perspectives on Female Genital Cutting (FGC) webinar dove deep into the impact FGC poses through migration, with a particular focus at western countries as well. This gave an interesting perception of FGC as a deeply rooted cultural norm, and thus many women and girls born in western countries would seek out FGC in the countries they had migrated to; alternatively, they could be forcibly brought back to their origin countries for the procedure, if FGC is not legally accessible in the migrated countries.
This left many participants pondering and asking the questions: Is there a medically safe way to perform FGC? How would I recognize if FGC was performed on me? Is there a difference in consequences when FGC is performed on adults or infancy?
My personal highlight from the event was hearing Dr. Ida Ismail-Pratt share professional studies on the sexual impact FGC has on women. The studies focused on both women who have not undergone FGC and those who have undergone FGC, and it concludes that sexual desire is not impacted by having undergone FGC or not. This is a powerful statement, as many who undergo FGC are believed to have a lessened sexual drive as a result. However, the primary impact FGC has on women is the effect it poses on their sexual experience(s) – lower sexual satisfaction.
This webinar was a perfect blend of a medical perspective along with a statistical analysis. It not only provided a professional opinion of the impact FGC has on women and girls, but it also provided solid evidence from survivors of FGC as well. One of the most startling findings is that the majority of women and girls are not even aware that they have undergone FGC, since it was done at such an early age. If they are aware, they often do not know who performed the procedure or with what medical instrument.