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Old 06-02-2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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Female Genital Mutilation

When will this torture end?

(AP)The World Health Organization said Friday that female genital cutting is a form of torture that must be stamped out, even if it is done by trained medical personnel.

The "medicalization" of ritual genital cutting fails to prevent girls from being permanently scarred, threatening their lives when they give birth later and endangering their babies, WHO said in a report.

Genital cutting "is the worst thing that a medical doctor could possibly do," said Joy Phumaphi, WHO assistant director-general and a former health minister from Botswana. "It is even worse than turning a blind eye, because you are legitimizing violation of a basic human right and violence against an innocent victim."

There can be no justification for doctors and nurses "to come and supervise the torture," Phumaphi said.

The practice — called genital mutilation by opponents — is done primarily in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. It is usually done on girls under 10. More than 100 million women and girls worldwide are believed to have undergone genital cutting, the U.N. health agency said.

Genital cutting usually involves removal of the clitoris. Those who practice it believe the cutting tames sexual desire and increases a girl's marriageability. Genital cutting is done by both Muslims and Christians.

An estimated 3 million women and girls undergo genital cutting each year, according to UNICEF.

"When the world is trying to save animals, when the world is trying to save plants, women in Africa are subjected to unnecessary torture in the name of tradition," said Berhane Ras-Work, president of the non-governmental group IAC, which campaigns against genital cutting. "It is a horrendous practice, it should not be allowed, it should be condemned, it should be stopped."

An increasing number of girls are being subjected to the practice by trained medical personnel, a UNICEF report said last year. While that may help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through the use of cleaner instruments, the WHO said it was opposed to any proposals that would endorse genital cutting.

"It's the same as attempting murder with a clean knife," Phumaphi said.

WHO's study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that women who have suffered the most serious form of genital cutting have a 70 percent greater chance of hemorrhage after childbirth compared with women who did not undergo the procedure.

In countries where childbirth mortality rates are already high, "this particular process is practically a death sentence," Phumaphi said.

Children born to women whose genitals have been cut also are at greater risk, the study found. Depending on the severity of the genital cutting, neonatal death rates range from 15 percent to 55 percent higher than babies born to women with intact genitals.

WHO's study involved more than 28,000 women in six African countries where the practice is common — Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.

Ras-Work said some countries in Africa were doing better than others in trying to end the practice. She cited Burkina Faso and Senegal as places where attitudes were being changed and genital cutting was declining.

Amnesty International's site

http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/femgen/fgm1.htm#a1

"Sometimes a trained midwife will be available to give a local anaesthetic. In some cultures, girls will be told to sit beforehand in cold water, to numb the area and reduce the likelihood of bleeding. More commonly, however, no steps are taken to reduce the pain. The girl is immobilized, held, usually by older women, with her legs open. Mutilation may be carried out using broken glass, a tin lid, scissors, a razor blade or some other cutting instrument. When infibulation takes place, thorns or stitches may be used to hold the two sides of the labia majora together, and the legs may be bound together for up to 40 days. Antiseptic powder may be applied, or, more usually, pastes - containing herbs, milk, eggs, ashes or dung - which are believed to facilitate healing."
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:42 PM   #2
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"FGM is an issue that concerns women and men who believe in equality, dignity and fairness to all human beings, regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnic identity. It must not be seen as the problem of any one group or culture, whether African, Muslim or Christian. FGM is practiced by many cultures. It represents a human tragedy and must not be used to set Africans against non-Africans, one religious group against the other, or even women against men."

Nahid Toubia, A Call for Global Action
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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This is absolutley astounding - I've never heard of such a thing.

WTF is wrong with the world today?
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:01 PM   #4
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How does a medical doctor still permit this?
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by YBORCITYOBL
This is absolutley astounding - I've never heard of such a thing.
More people need to be aware that this goes on, I only heard about it maybe five years ago.

One testimony from the AI site

"I was genitally mutilated at the age of ten. I was told by my late grandmother that they were taking me down to the river to perform a certain ceremony, and afterwards I would be given a lot of food to eat. As an innocent child, I was led like a sheep to be slaughtered.

Once I entered the secret bush, I was taken to a very dark room and undressed. I was blindfolded and stripped naked. I was then carried by two strong women to the site for the operation. I was forced to lie flat on my back by four strong women, two holding tight to each leg. Another woman sat on my chest to prevent my upper body from moving. A piece of cloth was forced in my mouth to stop me screaming. I was then shaved.

When the operation began, I put up a big fight. The pain was terrible and unbearable. During this fight, I was badly cut and lost blood. All those who took part in the operation were half-drunk with alcohol. Others were dancing and singing, and worst of all, had stripped naked.

I was genitally mutilated with a blunt penknife.

After the operation, no one was allowed to aid me to walk. The stuff they put on my wound stank and was painful. These were terrible times for me. Each time I wanted to urinate, I was forced to stand upright. The urine would spread over the wound and would cause fresh pain all over again. Sometimes I had to force myself not to urinate for fear of the terrible pain. I was not given any anaesthetic in the operation to reduce my pain, nor any antibiotics to fight against infection. Afterwards, I haemorrhaged and became anaemic. This was attributed to witchcraft. I suffered for a long time from acute vaginal infections."

Hannah Koroma, Sierra Leone


The effects of genital mutilation can lead to death. At the time the mutilation is carried out, pain, shock, haemorrhage and damage to the organs surrounding the clitoris and labia can occur. Afterwards urine may be retained and serious infection develop. Use of the same instrument on several girls without sterilization can cause the spread of HIV.

More commonly, the chronic infections, intermittent bleeding, abscesses and small benign tumours of the nerve which can result from clitoridectomy and excision cause discomfort and extreme pain.

Infibulation can have even more serious long-term effects: chronic urinary tract infections, stones in the bladder and urethra, kidney damage, reproductive tract infections resulting from obstructed menstrual flow, pelvic infections, infertility, excessive scar tissue, keloids (raised, irregularly shaped, progressively enlarging scars) and dermoid cysts.
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Old 06-02-2006, 02:47 PM   #6
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This is still done in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. It's terrible.
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Old 06-02-2006, 03:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by YBORCITYOBL
This is absolutley astounding - I've never heard of such a thing.

WTF is wrong with the world today?

Wow. My first recollection of reading about this comes sometime around 10 years ago. But, I agree with MrsS, more people need to be made aware of it so that perhaps something can be done to put the practice to an end.

It's a monstrosity that this is still allowed to go on.
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Old 06-02-2006, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
This is still done in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. It's terrible.
Actually, verte, female cirucumcision is viewed with abhorrence by the general public in Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Gulf States. It's mostly a sub-Saharan practice, and pre-dates Islam...actually goes back to the time of the Pharoahs (though i have no doubt some/lots of Islamic clerics and male power elites in Moslem countries would love to keep the practice ingrained in society). In Africa, it's practiced by both Moslems and non-Moslems.

more info here:

http://www.mwlusa.org/publications/p...apers/fgm.html
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:00 PM   #9
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Oops...double post.
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Old 06-03-2006, 01:38 AM   #10
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I can't even read all that. it makes me sick. that is just unfathomable.
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:54 AM   #11
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Well at least one person had to answer for doing it, I wonder how often this is happening in the US

(AP)An Ethiopian immigrant was convicted Wednesday of the genital mutilation of his 2-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in what was believed to be the first such criminal case in the United States.

Khalid Adem, 30, was found guilty of aggravated battery and cruelty to children. Prosecutors said he used scissors to remove his daughter's clitoris in his family's Atlanta-area apartment in 2001. The child's mother, Fortunate Adem, said she did not discover it until more than a year later.

Adem, who had no criminal record, could have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. He held his face in his hands and wept loudly after the jury's verdict was read.

During her father's trial, the girl, now 7, clutched a teddy bear as she testified on videotape that her father "cut me on my private part."

"This child has suffered, will suffer, the rest of her life," Judge Richard Winegarden told Adem during sentencing.

Federal law specifically bans the practice of genital mutilation, but many states do not have a law addressing it. Georgia lawmakers, with the support of the girl's mother, passed an anti-mutilation law last year. But Adem was not tried under that law since it did not exist when his daughter was cut.

During the trial, Adem testified he never circumcised his daughter or asked anyone else to do so. He said he grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and considers the practice more prevalent in rural areas.

Adem's attorney acknowledged that the girl had been cut, but implied that the family of the girl's mother, who immigrated from South Africa, may have been responsible. The Adems divorced three years ago, and attorney Mark Hill suggested that the couple's daughter was coached to testify against her father by her mother, who has full custody of the child.

Adem, who cried throughout the trial and during his testimony, was asked what he thought of someone who believes in the practice. He replied: "The word I can say is 'mind in the gutter.' He is a moron."
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Old 11-02-2006, 09:13 AM   #12
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There are some sick sick people in the world!
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Old 11-02-2006, 10:28 AM   #13
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What is the basis of this barbaric ritual? My first guess is just preventing women from sexual pleasure. Is that it? How do they rationalize this?
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Old 11-02-2006, 11:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Prosecutors said he used scissors to remove his daughter's clitoris in his family's Atlanta-area apartment in 2001. The child's mother, Fortunate Adem, said she did not discover it until more than a year later.
OK, that strikes me as a little odd. The mother never noticed a gaping wound on her baby's privates?


I can't imagine ever being socialized to think this practice is acceptable. If a consenting adult really wants her clit hacked off, so be it, but what really gets me about FGM is that these are little girls. Not only are they physically and emotionally scarred for life, they can't ever have sex as it was meant to be, they risk infections, even going pee is painful.
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:17 PM   #15
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Yes it's all about the sexual pleasure issue. I assume sexual pleasure for women is threatening to people who do this. I believe they think it gives women some sort of power they shouldn't have, or will make them whores or something like that. Of course the sexual pleasure of men isn't seen in that way at all by those people. It's just one more brutal way of controlling females.

Yes I don't know how that girl's mother didn't notice the damage done to her, but that didn't seem to affect the verdict in any way. Obviously we don't have access to the trial in its' entirety. I think they do it to little girls so it's done before they can think for themselves about sex and sexual pleasure.
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