Lack of sex education contributing to female genital mutilation in India: Study

Absence of anti-FGM laws in the country has aided rise in incidents

Lack of sex education contributing to female genital mutilation in India: Study

A lack of sex education within families is an important factor contributing to the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in India, according to a recent study titled "The Clitoral Hood A Contested Site."  

FGM is being performed in the Bohra (a Shia Muslim sect) community and foreign girls in India, the study says. An absence of anti-FGM laws in the country has aided the rise in these incidents.

The main sources of sex education for the study participants were through friends, books or pornography. Most respondents had poor knowledge of women’s sexual anatomy and were unfamiliar with proper language to discuss their body.

About 32% of study participants revealed that FGM had negatively impacted their sexual life. Several women had questions about FGM, its impact on women’s sexual health, sexual pleasure and the anatomical structure. A majority of women did not know what was done to their bodies during FGM.

The study also revealed that about 75% of Bohra women in India (aged seven and above) are victims of FGM. In India, FGM is practised mainly in Dawoodi, Suleimani and Alvi Bohras in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and some Sunni sects in Kerala.

Recently, women have started to speak out against the practice of FGM and anti-FGM movements like WeSpeakOut and Sahiyo have succeeded in breaking the silence surrounding the practice.

Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi announced in May 2017 that the government intended to pass an anti-FGM law if the Bohra community did not abandon the practice.

However, no progress has been made till date. Moreover, the ministry has responded to the Supreme Court stating that “there is no official data or study which supports the existence of FGM/C in India.”

The study has revealed that around 37% of the women in Bohra community support FGM and around 65% are against it. The main reason behind the rise in the number of women against FGM is the daughters' strong position against FGM and confrontations with the parents due to pain and suffering. 

Read More: Three in four Bohra girls undergo genital mutilation: Study

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