My body my temple

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Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Statistically, every year, three million women in the world are mutilated against their will. This is part of a vicious belief that women will become more beautiful when they get rid of a part of their body. 

A woman who undergoes this procedure is deprived a part of her own body meaning it deprives her of the pleasure of a private life. For this ritual to take place, the most commonly used materials are razor blades, a piece of glass or a can lid, usually none of which have been disinfected. There is no question of anaesthesia and there are a number of harmful effects it can cause. Starting from trauma, gangrene infection, blood loss, even HIV, permanent damage to the woman's organs, or complete infertility. 

However, this is not the end of the suffering. The wound must be stitched using an acacia spike and a thick thread leaving only a tiny hole. Women tied from the waist down cannot move for weeks so that the wound does not open again. 

In some communities, it is thought that females are the greatest threat to men, they are the evil spirit leading to hell. She tempts him with what she has between her legs, that's why it should be cut out. It is also a guarantee of being faithful to her husband.  

One of the most important activists fighting this practice is Waris Dirie. A native of Somalia, a model and writer whose sister and two cousins died as a result of traditional circumcision. Waris was also maimed at the age of five. She described her experiences in the book 'Desert Flower'. 

“Female mutilation has nothing to do with religion, culture or tradition. To cut away something so sensitive, so personal is simply a crime against innocence” she says. 

The targets of genital mutilation are normally baby girls and young girls who cannot defend themselves or even give permission. They are helpless. “I belong to nowhere and no one”.

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