Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Female Circumcision

Yes, unbelievable as it may seem to some, female circumcision or what I prefer to call it, Genital Mutilation, exists and has been around for over 1000 years and happens to be an age old tradition in many parts of Africa and even Asia.

In 1998, it was estimated that around 126 million women in 28 countries were circumcised in the name of tradition. 6000 girls fall victim to this ancient traditional practice everyday.

The ritual is performed on girls who are sometimes as young as 2 years old.

The child is first tied to a chair and her legs are spread apart. The cutter, an elderly woman, grips the skin of the clitoris and begins cutting it until there is no longer a clitoris left. This ritual is performed without any anesthetic. As I write, I can imagine the horrifying screams coming out of those little girls and their tiny bodies writhing in pain. There are instances where all the genitals are removed. Once they finishing cutting off the clitoris and removing the organs, the wound is stuffed with herbs and raw eggs and “sewn together with catgut or thorns”.

I personally find it hard to believe that this age old tradition of female circumcision is practiced to “preserve virginity before marriage and to enhance a woman’s beauty”. But what I did find to be true was that a child who has been a victim of female circumcision will be “re-cut with a razor again when she gets married “to make intercourse possible”. And her first-born usually dies “because the labia minora that stretches and aids in the baby’s birth has been cut off, the labor is therefore prolonged and the baby is starved of oxygen”.

Here is another valuable piece of information I came across on female circumcision:

“Just a few generations ago, some physicians in the United States suggested that a woman who showed “excessive’ interest in sex should have her clitoris removed. Such a procedure, it was argued would keep her sexual behavior under control (Hyde, 1994).



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