A 17-year-old teen from Egypt died this week after undergoing an illegal female genital mutilation operation at a private hospital. According to The Guardian, the girl — whose name is Mayar Mohamed Mousa — died while under anesthesia at a hospital in Suez. Local health ministry undersecretary Lotfi Abdel-Samee also told the site that Mousa died just hours after her twin sister underwent the same operation.
The procedure was said to have been conducted by a registered female doctor, but authorities have since transferred current patients out of the private hospital and shut it down.
Female genital mutilation — also known as female cutting — is the partial or complete removal of a woman’s genitals for non-medical reasons. While it is clearly a form of violence against woman and a human rights violation, many countries practiced the ritual as a way to control women’s virginity and marital fidelity. Over 200 million females are estimated to have undergone the procedure, most of which being from African and Middle Eastern countries.
Unfortunately this is far from the first time a young woman has died at the hands of FGM. Dr. Raslan Fadl became the first doctor to be convicted of manslaughter under Egypt’s anti-FGM law. Last January he was found guilty in the death of a 13-year-old girl who died during a similar procedure, but had not served any jail time as of December that same year. He was also found operating an unofficial clinic since his conviction.
However, attitudes towards the barbaric operation have reportedly started to change.
“The latest figures from the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey show that we’re winning,” the United Nations Development Programme said in a report last year.
“Mothers’ attitudes are changing, too,” UNDP said.
While 92% of mothers had undergone the procedure, only 35% of them “intend to circumcise their daughters,” according to the UNDP report.
Victims of the procedure are left to cope with a range of consequences from bleeding and pain while urinating, extreme discomfort during sex, fatal complications in childbirth and deep psychological trauma.
The procedure was banned in Egypt in 2008 but remains popular in rural parts of the country.