Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]

Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi’s series ‘Taken’ is a hard-hitting look at the atrocities of female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation refers to the removal of all or some of the external female genitalia. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, there are over 140 million mutilated women worldwide.

Considered a violation of human rights, the highly controversial procedure remains in practice in 29 countries, including sub-Saharan and north-east Africa, Yemen and Iraqi Kurdistan.

It is rooted in cultural beliefs that the female sexual organs are impure, and its purpose is to decrease women’s sexual pleasure.

The heartrending images tell the plight of Isina and Nasirian, two girls from the Masai tribe in Kenya. Though it has been banned in the African country since 2001, it remains a sacred rite of passage among the Masai people.

Their striking monochromatic quality serves to heighten the tension, and we feel the palpable pain and terror of the girls as they are being circumcised.

Koutaniemi’s series is part of a long-term project to bring greater awareness of this barbaric practice. Read more about this terrible practice from the source.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
The mother of Isina shows the tool which will be used for the circumcision.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
Two Masai girls, Isina and Nasirian, are sitting in their father’s room the day before their planned circumcision.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
Nasirian cries during the beginning of the circumcision ceremony.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
An adult woman holds the wrist of Isina while she struggles with the pain.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
Six women hold down Nasirian because she is moving so much out of pain.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
Isina screams in agony.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
The remains of the ritual.

Terrible Circumcision Photographs [NSFW]
Nasirian resting, just a few hours after her circumcision. She will stay in bed for four weeks during which time she will be fed by animal blood and meat to recover her strength.