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FGM - female genital mutilation

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:50 am
by ixolite
key facts

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
  • In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
  • FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Procedures

    Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types:

  1. Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, rarely, the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris) as well.
  2. Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina).
  3. Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, and sometimes outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.
  4. Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Health consequences

FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies.

Immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.

Long-term consequences can include:

  • recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections;
  • cysts;
  • infertility;
  • the need for later surgeries. For example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening (type 3 above) is surgically changed to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth, and
  • sometimes stitched close again afterwards;
  • an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

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Image

Wikipedia on FGM

Organisations against FGM:
http://www.clitoraid.org/news.php
http://www.stopfgmkurdistan.org/

Thread on RDF:
Female vs Male Circumcision

15 minute video: Razor's Edge: The Controversy of Female Genital Mutilation
collection of links: THE DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET

Re: FGM - female genital mutilation

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:07 am
by ixolite
What proponents of FGM say:



Statement by African Women Are Free to Choose (AWA-FC), Washington DC, USA

...Though we do not condone the use of violence or intimidation we are also deeply affected by the inflammatory impact of language such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). We declare categorically that this language is offensive, demeaning and an assault against our identities as women, our prerogatives to uphold our cultural definitions of womanhood including determining for ourselves what bodily integrity means to us African women from ethnic groups that practice female and male initiation as parallel and mutually constitutive processes in our societies.

We declare that thus far the representation of female circumcision (FC) - its social and ideological meaning in terms of gender and female sexuality and impact, if any, on reproductive health and psychosexual wellbeing has been over the last thirty years dominated by a small but vocal number of African women that make up the Inter-African Committee (IAC) with the enormous backing, if not outright instigation of powerful western feminist organizations and media personalities. Through aggressive use of the media to portray African women as passive and powerless victims of barbaric, patriarchal African societies, their efforts have succeeded in influencing and tainting the objectivity of such institutions as WHO and UNICEF, among other international organizations that have taken the lead role in promulgating anti-FGM policies and legislation worldwide.

Through political pressure from first world countries on whose aid they continue to depend as well as internal political expediency, several African countries have introduced anti-FGM legislation over against the full knowledge, participation and desires of the majority of affected women. This will not happen in Sierra Leone....

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"Circumcision is cleanliness if used moderately and is useful to women as well as men."

[Mohammed Tantawi, leading Islamic religious scholar, quoted in the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Aswat, reported by Miriam Sami, Associated Press Writer in "Cleric Eases Stand on Female Circumcision, Alarming Activists," April 9, 1996]


"There are problems of such tremendous magnitude in our society and in our lives, that it (female circumcision) is not a primary problem to us."

[28 year old Sudanese maternity hospital resident, interview p. 155, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"Our mothers, aunts and sisters have been doing this for years and no one was complaining."

[Dr. Munir Fawzi, Gynecologist at Cairo’s Ain Shams University, Dallas Morning News, 12/25/96]


Many here dispute claims that there is any health risk associated with the age-old operation..."Circumcision has no negative effects as (the government) claims and today, with the progress of medicine, the operation can be done without any danger."

[Khaled al-Sharif, Abnob tribe member, quoted in news report, "Egyptian fundamentalists ignoring female circumcision ban," 6 January 1998, Agence France-Presse]


The ruling bans circumcision unless deemed necessary for a female's health - swelling of the labia or clitoris, for instance. "I'm a university professor and I can decide whether a patient needs to be reduced or not. I will do it for medical reasons," he said with a smile.

[Dr.Munir Fawzi, gynecologist, in news report, "Egypt court bans female mutilation," 7 February 1998, Associated Press]


"God forbid!" Sakina Ibrahim, a 60-year-old village exclaimed in disbelief when she heard of the ban. "This ruling won't work here, it won't be obeyed," she said. ..."It's an evil ruling," interjected Abdel-Maguid Hagar, 36. "It will continue in secret," declared Hamam Mahmoud Ali, 26.

[Egyptian citizens, quoted in news report, "Egypt court bans female mutilation," 7 February 1998, Associated Press]


"How can we leave our daughters uncircumcised? The government can do what it wants and we, too, will do what we want. We will all circumcise our daughters, no matter what the punishments."

[Osman Antar, mayor of Sabee (Egypt), quoted in news report, "Egyptian fundamentalists ignoring female circumcision ban," 6 January 1998, Agence France-Presse]


"I do see a few cases (of emotional disturbance from circumcision), but when you compare their number to that of the number of women that are circumcised, they are very trivial indeed."

[Dr. Yahia Oun Alla, Sudanese psychiatrist, interview, p. 137, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


She says that she thinks pharaonic circumcision is a good practice, and feels she has lost nothing by her own circumcision.

[From "Interviews with Women" History #5, p. 253, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


She claims there was no pain whatsoever (when she was circumcised without anesthetic at age 6). She says she has had "no problems at all" because of her circumcision, and is very happy about it. She feels that circumcision is a good practice.

[50-year-old Sudanese village housewife. From "Interviews with Women" History #1, p. 247, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


According to a government study earlier this year, 97 percent of 14,779 Egyptian women polled had been circumcised…Eighty percent of those circumcised said they were pleased with the results.

[Excerpt from news report "Egyptian Court Allows Female Circumcision," Toronto Globe & Mail, June 25, 1997]


To defend themselves from feelings of inferiority, many women deny that FGM damages their bodies or their sexuality.

[Excerpt from booklet "FGM: A Call for Global Action," p. 37, published by RAINBO, 1995]

"Until recently, it never occurred to me that there was anything strange about women’s circumcision."

[Ahmed, 32-year-old Sudanese veterinarian, interview, p.124, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"They (parents) do not want her to suffer the stigma of being different from other girls. She…comes to accept that what has been done is in her best interest."

[Dr. Hassabo, 40-year-old male psychiatrist, interview, p. 143, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"We are brought up to believe that all sorts of evil things will happen to us if we are not circumcised."

[Eclas, 43-year-old Sudanese biology professor, interview, p. 116, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"Both Islam and medicine agree on its benefits. Uncircumcised girls…are more liable to infections and cancers."

[Dr. Saed Thabet, professor gynecology at Cairo’s Kasr El Aini Teaching Hospital, quoted in "Female Circumcision is Curbed in Egypt," British Medical Journal, August 3, 1996]


"It's our religion. We pray, we do fasting, we do circumcision. For 14 centuries of Islam, our mothers and grandmothers have performed this operation. Those who are not circumcised get AIDS easily."

[Sheik Yusef Badry, in news report "Egyptian Court Allows Female Circumcision," Toronto Globe & Mail, June 25, 1997]


"I did not know anything about the operation at the time, except that it was very simple, and that it was done to all the girls for purposes of cleanliness…"

[Research worker, interview, p.165, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


She was one of the first girls to be circumcised in her village, which until then had not practiced circumcision at all. Her mother told her that this was "the new way," and that it would keep her clean and free from disease.

[From "Interviews with Women" History #4, p. 250, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"To the girls here (Sudan) circumcision does not mean taking away part of their bodies. It is a normal occurrence that happens to everyone."

[Dr. Yahia Oun Alla, Sudanese psychiatrist, interview, p. 139, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


Question: "Do you ever feel angry when you…realize how you have been deprived?" Answer: "No, because that is the culture here. They do it to everybody." Question: "Do you know other women who feel the way you do?" Answer: "No…they feel they have to follow custom. Even educated people still do it as before."

[Fahtma, U.S.-educated Sudanese mother of four children, interview, p. 134, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


She plans to take only half the clitoris (from her daughter). She must have some sort of circumcision, she says, or people will look down on her.

[32-year-old Sudanese practical nurse with 9 years of education in the capital. From "Interviews with Women" History #6, p. 254, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"It is done at such a young age and in no time at all they are well again and go back to playing their games. It doesn’t really sink in, what has been done, and the problems later when you are a woman, seem to have no connection to it."

[Eclas, 43-year-old Sudanese biology professor, interview, p. 118, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"With the older women there is often the element of: ‘If it was done to me, why should it not be done to the young girls?’"

[Dr. Saida, Sudanese physician, interview, p.127, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


"One (doctor) said that he talked to every woman who came to him for this purpose (circumcision of their daughter), explaining the consequences and saying that it was unnecessary, but found they insisted upon having it done, so he complies. His justification was that he did it in a hygienic way and lost nothing by it, on the contrary, he gained money. But he overlooked the fact that he is acting unethically…instead of being a model of enlightenment for others; one can only assume that he is simply pursuing his own interests. The negative effect of this is that when we try to convince women that this operation is not necessary, they immediately reply that doctors do it, therefore it must be a good thing."

[Dr. Asma El Dareer, Sudanese physician, interview, p. 99, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


She accepts it as everyone else accepts it. "Most African women have still not developed the sensitivity to feel deprived or to see in many cultural practices a violation of their human rights."

[O. Koso-Thomas, quoted, p. 75, Prisoners of Ritual: Odyssey into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa, Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989]


Tens of thousands of women marched in the (Sierra Leone) capital Freetown and various other towns early this year protesting foreign and domestic campaigns against the practice (of female circumcision).

[Excerpt from news report "Sierra Leone Army Chief Backs Female Circumcision," Tribune News, July 2, 1997]

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A nigerian "study" says:

Female circumcision does not reduce sexual activity

Circumcised women experience sexual arousal and orgasm as frequently as uncircumcised women, according to a study in Nigeria.

The researchers also found no difference in the frequency of intercourse or age of first sexual experience between the two groups of women. These findings remove key arguments used to defend the practice, they say.

Friday Okonofua and colleagues at the Women's Health and Action Research Centre in Benin City studied 1836 women, 45 per cent of whom had been circumcised.

During the operation, all or part of the clitoris and the labia are removed. Proponents of female circumcision claim it makes virginity at marriage and marital fidelity more likely. Opponents condemn it as dangerous and painful.

The women filled in questionnaires, asking about their sexual history. The results show "female genital cutting cannot be justified by arguments that suggest it reduces sexual activity in women," write the team in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Two million women

Circumcision is common in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria and Sudan. It is often performed using crude, non-sterilised instruments.

Okonofua's team also found that the circumcised women were more likely to have lower abdominal pain, genital ulcers and urinary tract infections.

An estimated two million women and girls undergo genital mutilation every year. But in some regions, it is the women themselves who must be persuaded the practice is undesirable, say local health workers.

Circumcision brings women respect from other members of the community, points out Sudanese women's health rights campaigner Nahid Toubia.

Journal reference: BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (vol 109, p 1089)

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This study was obviously tampered with.

Though it is apparently true that FGM does not mean no sexual pleasure:

Pleasure and orgasm in women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).

Research Center for Preventing and Curing Complications of FGM/C, Health Promotion of Immigrant Woman - Department of Gynaecology, Obstetrics, Perinatology, Human Reproduction, Florence, Italy. lucreziacatania@yahoo.it

INTRODUCTION: Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) violates human rights. FGM/C women's sexuality is not well known and often it is neglected by gynecologists, urologists, and sexologists. In mutilated/cut women, some fundamental structures for orgasm have not been excised. AIM: The aim of this report is to describe and analyze the results of four investigations on sexual functioning in different groups of cut women. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Instruments: semistructured interviews and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). METHODS: Sample: 137 adult women affected by different types of FGM/C; 58 young FGM/C ladies living in the West; 57 infibulated women; 15 infibulated women after the operation of defibulation. RESULTS: The group of 137 women, affected by different types of FGM/C, reported orgasm in almost 86%, always 69.23%; 58 mutilated young women reported orgasm in 91.43%, always 8.57%; after defibulation 14 out of 15 infibulated women reported orgasm; the group of 57 infibulated women investigated with the FSFI questionnaire showed significant differences between group of study and an equivalent group of control in desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction with mean scores higher in the group of mutilated women. No significant differences were observed between the two groups in lubrication and pain. CONCLUSION: Embryology, anatomy, and physiology of female erectile organs are neglected in specialist textbooks. In infibulated women, some erectile structures fundamental for orgasm have not been excised. Cultural influence can change the perception of pleasure, as well as social acceptance. Every woman has the right to have sexual health and to feel sexual pleasure for full psychophysical well-being of the person. In accordance with other research, the present study reports that FGM/C women can also have the possibility of reaching an orgasm. Therefore, FGM/C women with sexual dysfunctions can and must be cured; they have the right to have an appropriate sexual therapy.

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