Women Circumcision in Senegal

Senegal is a country located in West Africa. Infinity of cultures and traditions are practiced, such as the practice of women’s circumcision.

Why is it practiced?

The practice of female circumcision is primarily carried out as a cultural norm. In some cultures, the rite of passage emphasizing that a girl is officially an adult – and thus, further, marriageable – is an important sign of maturity.

The Procedure

In Senegal, female circumcision typically involves one of these three procedures:

  • Clitoridectomy — removal of the clitoris and sometimes parts of the labia.
  • Excision — removal of the clitoris and entire labia.
  • Infibulation — narrowing of the vaginal opening.

The Impact

The outcomes of these procedures can be devastating. Females may experience intense pain during and in the aftermath of the procedure, as well as complications such as shock, infection, infertility, and sometimes even death. Beyond these physical consequences, female circumcision can have psychological effects, too — girls who have experienced an excision procedure are at an increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder.

The issues surrounding female circumcision in Senegal are complex and varied. In some cases, women may choose to have the procedure – yet the effects, biological and psychological, can be severe.

The struggle to end the practice of female circumcision in Senegal is ongoing and the results are uncertain. Regardless, Senegal, and all countries where this practice is commonplace, must take steps to address the many risks associated with the practice in order to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of their citizens.