Genital Mutilation

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

If you feel as strongly about this issue as I, please contact me

This page is made available in order to publicize this inhuman practice so that it may be STOPPED!

Good news on the front

Letters from victims

Bad news to mourn

Related Reading

Witness

Links

[What kind of evil "humans" would do such a thing? This is an abomination!]

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A DANGEROUS PROCEDURE……

Female circumcision is painful and sometimes deadly

By Ridgely Ochs, staff writer, NEWSDAY [printed April, 1996]

A lifetime of pain and infection, or early death, are often the byproducts of female genital mutilation, a practice to which 85 million to 115 million women worldwide have been subjected.

It consists of either the removal of the clitoris, or the removal of the clitoris and most of the labia, which forms the lips of the vulva that protect the vaginal and urethral openings.

In this second form of mutilation, called an excision, the two sides of the vulva are sewn together by silk or catgut or held together by thorns, according to a paper published last year on the subject by the American Medical Association. A tiny hole is left – usually made by the insertion of a matchstick -- to allow the woman to urinate or menstruate. Heavy scar tissue then forms, which must be pierced or cut to allow penetration.

The practice occurs mostly in Africa, but also parts of the Middle East and Muslim parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, and areas of South America.

Dr. Mohamed Badawi, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins School of Public Health who has studied the practice extensively in Africa, said that in Egypt the mutilation is not done to all females, and tends to be limited to removal of the clitoris. Farther south, in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, for instance, excision is the norm and affects all women, he said.

The practice is very rare in the United States and can be found primarily among immigrants from these areas, said Dr. Joseph Riggs, an obstetrician -gynecologist from Haddonfield, N.J., who is part of the panel that wrote the AMA paper. Usually the procedure is done before adolescence, between the age of 1 week and 14 years old – 7 is a common age. It is most often done by a village woman in unsterile conditions without anesthesia. Because this is the most sensitive part of a woman’s body with many nerve endings and blood vessels, the procedure "must of extremely painful for at least several months," Dr. Riggs said.

The AMA says there are no worldwide records of how many girls bleed to death as a result of female genital mutilation, although four girls are known to have died from the practice in England since 1978.

Other immediate complications include: shock, hemorrhage, infection, damage to the urethra or anus, keloid scar formation, epidermoid cysts, tetanus and septicemia from unsterilized instruments and bladder infections. There is also the risk of getting blood-borne infections such as HIV or hepatitis B.

One of the more common complications is difficulty in urinating because of the pain of the wound. Those who are tightly sewn together can only urinate drop by drop so that the average time of urination is 10 to 15 minutes. Not surprisingly, chronic urinary tract infections are also a problem. Menstruation can take up to 10 or more days and can be more painful than usual.

Women experience very little, if any, sexual pleasure after the procedure, Badawi and Riggs said. In those who have had an incision, penetration by the husband can be very painful. If a husband is unable to penetrate the scar, the midwife is often called upon on the wedding night to cut it open, the AMA says. Sometimes penetration may take place gradually over several months.

Childbirth is also more hazardous because scar tissue can obstruct the birth canal. The risk of the mother dying is doubled and the risk of stillbirths also increases, the World Health Organization said.

Aside from the risk of infections, women told Badawi they lived in chronic pain. One woman told him that urinating, menstruating, having intercourse and having children were all excruciatingly painful events. But the worst, she told him, was when the excision was done. "She told me she would never forget that pain. And she was sixty-five years old."

Female circumcision a problem in Britain (2007)



CIRCUMCISION BAN ENDED

[printed June 25, 1997] Compiled from news dispatches

A Cairo court yesterday overturned a year-old health ministry ban on female circumcision in Egypt, handing a major victory to Islamic fundamentalists and angering human rights activists.

Judge Abdelaziz Hamada said the Cairo administrative court approved the operation, in which all or part of the clitoris and sometimes the labia is removed, and called the ban an "abuse of power."

"God be praised, we have won and can apply Islam," said Sheikh Yussef Badri, a clergyman who was a party to the suit filed by a group of Islamists, lawyers and doctors.

Siham Abdel Salam, a doctor with the Egyptian Organization for Population and Development, said, "This judgment is not only against women’s rights but also against Egyptian penal code, which contains a clause prohibiting mutilation of any part of the human body. Circumcision has nothing to do with religion."

The ancient practice, usually carried out on girls aged around 10, continues to be widespread in Egypt, where 97 percent of Muslim and Christian women are circumcised, according to a study released in February. Supporters say excision is important to quell sexual desire before marriage.



GOOD NEWS ON THE FRONT

FEMALE CIRCUMCISION BANNED

[printed December 23, 1998] Seen in Newsday

The Sengalese government yesterday banned female circumcision, the surgical mutilation of female genital organs, an official communiqué said here.

The practice, which affects an estimated 130 million African and Asian woman according to to the United Nations Children's Fund, will be punishable by one to five years in prison.

During the age-old operation, all or part of the clitoris and sometimes the labia are removed. In Senegal, some 700,000 women have had the operation.


GHANAIAN WOMAN GRANTED ASYLUM Board: Had reason to fear mutilation

The Associated Press [printed August 18, 1999] Seen in Newsday

A woman who fled Africa two years ago to avoid genital mutilation has been awarded political asylum.

The Board of Immigration Appeals granted the petition of Adelaide Abankwah on the ground thaty she had good reason to genital cutting if she returned to her native Ghana.

Abankwah, 29, is the second woman to win asylum in the United States because of the threat of genital cutting, which millions of African girls and women undergo each year……………….

Although the procedure is not customary in her tribe, Abankwah feared it would be done to her as punishment for violating tribal customs by losing her virginity.

The INS [initially] denied her asylum request, saying though her fear was credible, there was a law in Ghana to prevent genital mutilation [Ed: However, 15 to 30 percent of women there suffer the mutilation]

………………The precedent for recognizing genital mutilation in amnesty rulings was established in the case by Fauziya Kassindja, who fled Togo hours before she was to be cut.

After Kassindja reached the United States, she was imprisoned for 16 months. She ultimately won a landmark 1996 asylum ruling in which the INS recognized female genital mutilation as a form of persecution.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is sponsoring a bill that would formalize gender persecution as a reason for granting amnesty.



LETTERS FROM VICTIMS

My name is xxxxxxxxxx. I am 13 and have just returned from Egypt where I was taken to be circumcised. It hurt. The doctor removed the clitoris with a scalpel. He did use a painkiller though. It was next day the pain came. Keep up the good work (9 Jan 99, United Kingdom)



WITNESS

Female circumcision is an act of barbarity whose roots are deeply embedded in the terrifying egos of most Middle and Far Eastern men. I lived in both North and South Yemen and elsewhere, often amongst tribesman, for nearly three years and can tell you that, whilst there was much about them that is worthy and noble, their social thinking is very much locked into the Dark Ages.

Cruelty, torture, barbarity, and their interpretation of the Koran is such, that they will argue the 'Will of God' to justify just about any cruel behavior and thinking. Thus, in their own minds, they are absolved of all sin . . . Their treatment of women was and is such that the cattle fare better. Just go to Afghanistan and see what ignoble deeds the brave Taliban commit against women.

Female circumcision is done for one reason - because the men prefer a woman's vagina thus mutilated.

Don't for one minute think that this is a sterile procedure with stainless steel and antiseptic surgery; most times it more resembles butchery performed in a foul smelling tent by ignorant and the superstitious crones - to a background of a screaming little girl and the buzzing of flies. This, they will argue is their cultural heritage.

All this, to please the men.

Sincerely, Angela Teal.



LINKS

FEMALE & INTERSEXUAL GENITAL MUTILATION - www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cira.htm

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION EDUCATION AND NETWORKING PROJECT --

www.fgmnetwork.org

FEDERAL PROHIBITION OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION ACT OF 1995
(Introduced in the Senate)
S 1030 IS



RELATED READING

"Do They Hear You When You Cry?" by Fauziya Kassindja.