Between 130 and 150 million women are victims of genital mutilation - most of them are Africans. Now, doctors, teachers and social workers in Germany are increasingly being confronted by this practice. Somalian Jawahir Cumar moved to Germany with her parents when she was a girl.
Later, on a visit to her grandparents' village when she was 20, Jawahir witnessed the funeral of young girl who had bled to death after being "circumcised." "And then I saw another case," the now 36 year old says. "A pregnant woman was in labor. She had never been to a doctor, there was nowhere for her to get ultrasound in the area - the next hospital was 900 kilometers away, in Mogadishu. After the birth of the child, the woman was sewn up again." The midwife had overlooked the fact that the woman had been carrying twins, so she was still in pain.
She was later transported to Mogadishu by car - a journey that took two days. And although she survived, the second twin died. Severe health damage Jawahir Cumar is the founder of the organization "Stop Mutilation" Female genital mutilation (FGM) is currently practiced in 29 African countries, despite being illegal in some. It is usually done when girls are between the ages of four and eight - using varying instruments, ranging from razor blades, kitchen knives to broken glass and tin lids. And because these tools are used more than once, it also increases the risk of spreading diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Female genital mutilation includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to female genitalia for non-medical reasons, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
These practices include partial or total removal of the clitoris, the removal of the labia and narrowing the vaginal opening by creating a covering seal to leave a small opening of about two to four millimeters. About 15 percent of the women who have been cut (especially in Somalia and Sudan) have also undergone infibulation, which results in the vaginal opening being almost sealed completely.