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Is it necessary for every girl to do it? What you need to know about labia elongation

Labia elongation, also known as labia stretching, is a tradition that has been practiced for many years in Rwanda and other parts of Africa, especially in East and Southern Africa, but is it necessary for every girl to undergo this practice, and what exactly does it entail?

In these regions of Africa we mentioned, labia elongation is seen as a rite of passage that every girl, usually between the ages of 8 and 14 in the pre-adolescent stage, goes through to help her become a woman who pleases her husband, especially when it comes to sexual intercourse.

Since it is a practice that is done in secrecy, many people still have many questions about it to this day. Are you one of them?

Labia elongation or stretching involves pulling some of the parts of the female genitalia, using specific herbs, various oils including cow oil, and a girl can do it herself or have it done for her.

This act is seen as a way to prepare a girl to become a woman who pleases her husband during sexual intercourse. In Rwandan culture, it was not just an act aimed at pleasing the man, but also helped women enjoy the act.

You might be wondering about the possible effects on a girl due to labia elongation! Unlike female genital mutilation practiced in other countries, labia elongation involves only pulling these private parts.

It can take months or years and comes with pain and swelling that may not be tolerable for every girl. A girl who has undergone the procedure may also feel embarrassed if her labia do not match those of her peers, which can also lead to pressure from her family and spouse.

In Rwanda, in June 2023, during an awareness campaign by the Hear Us Initiative Organization against gender-based violence, it was shown that people who perform labia elongation on children thinking they are preparing them for a good marriage are actually perpetuating sexual violence and that it should be stopped.

You might be wondering what should be done, continue with labia elongation or ignore it? The first thing you should do is to get important information to know if you really need this practice because making a decision on a long-standing tradition requires careful thought and strong choices.

Keep in mind that having basic information about your reproductive health is also crucial.

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