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Female Genital Mutilation

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WHAT IS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION?

 

The different types of mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the term used to refer to the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. The most severe form is infibulation, also known as pharaonic circumcision. An estimated 15% of all mutilations in Africa are infibulations. The procedure consists of clitoridectomy (where all, or part of, the clitoris is removed), excision (removal of all, or part of, the labia minora), and cutting of the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are then stitched or held together in order to form a cover over the vagina when they heal. A small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to escape. In some less conventional forms of infibulation, less tissue is removed and a larger opening is left.

 

The vast majority (85%) of genital mutilations performed in Africa consist of clitoridectomy or excision. The least radical procedure consists of the removal of the clitoral hood.

 

In some traditions a ceremony is held, but no mutilation of the genitals occurs. The ritual may include holding a knife next to the genitals, pricking the clitoris, cutting some pubic hair, or light scarification in the genital or upper thigh area.

The procedures followed

The type of mutilation practised, the age at which it is carried out, and the way in which it is done varies according to a variety of factors, including the woman or girl's ethnic group, what country they are living in, whether in a rural or urban area and their socio-economic provenance.

 

The procedure is carried out at a variety of ages, ranging from shortly after birth to some time during the first pregnancy, but most commonly occurs between the ages of four and eight. According to the World Health Organization, the average age is falling. This indicates that the practice is decreasingly associated with initiation into adulthood, and this is believed to be particularly the case in urban areas.

 

Some girls undergo genital mutilation alone, but mutilation is more often undergone as a group of, for example, sisters, other close female relatives or neighbours. Where FGM is carried out as part of an initiation ceremony, as is the case in societies in eastern, central and western Africa, it is more likely to be carried out on all the girls in the community who belong to a particular age group.

 

The procedure may be carried out in the girl's home, or the home of a relative or neighbour, in a health centre, or, especially if associated with initiation, at a specially designated site, such as a particular tree or river. The person performing the mutilation may be an older woman, a traditional midwife or healer, a barber, or a qualified midwife or doctor.

 

Girls undergoing the procedure have varying degrees of knowledge about what will happen to them. Sometimes the event is associated with festivities and gifts. Girls are exhorted to be brave. Where the mutilation is part of an initiation rite, the festivities may be major events for the community. Usually only women are allowed to be present.

 

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. The girl may be taken to a specially designated place to recover where, if the mutilation has been carried out as part of an initiation ceremony, traditional teaching is imparted. For the very rich, the mutilation procedure may be performed by a qualified doctor in hospital under local or general anaesthetic.

 

Geographical distribution of female genital mutilation

An estimated 135 million of the world's girls and women have undergone genital mutilation, and two million girls a year are at risk of mutilation - approximately 6,000 per day. It is practised extensively in Africa and is common in some countries in the Middle East. It also occurs, mainly among immigrant communities, in parts of Asia and the Pacific, North and Latin America and Europe.

 

FGM is reportedly practised in more than 28 African countries (see FGM in Africa: Information by Country (ACT 77/07/97)). There are no figures to indicate how common FGM is in Asia. It has been reported among Muslim populations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, although very little is known about the practice in these countries. In India, a small Muslim sect, the Daudi Bohra, practise clitoridectomy.

 

In the Middle East, FGM is practised in Egypt, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

 

There have been reports of FGM among certain indigenous groups in central and south America, but little information is available.

 

In industrialized countries, genital mutilation occurs predominantly among immigrants from countries where mutilation is practised. It has been reported in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and USA. Girls or girl infants living in industrialized countries are sometimes operated on illegally by doctors from their own community who are resident there. More frequently, traditional practitioners are brought into the country or girls are sent abroad to be mutilated. No figures are available on how common the practise is among the populations of industrialized countries.

 

 

The physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation

 

Physical effects

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.

 

First sexual intercourse can only take place after gradual and painful dilation of the opening left after mutilation. In some cases, cutting is necessary before intercourse can take place. In one study carried out in Sudan, 15% of women interviewed reported that cutting was necessary before penetration could be achieved.1 Some new wives are seriously damaged by unskilful cutting carried out by their husbands. A possible additional problem resulting from all types of female genital mutilation is that lasting damage to the genital area can increase the risk of HIV transmission during intercourse.

 

During childbirth, existing scar tissue on excised women may tear. Infibulated women, whose genitals have been tightly closed, have to be cut to allow the baby to emerge. If no attendant is present to do this, perineal tears or obstructed labour can occur. After giving birth, women are often reinfibulated to make them "tight" for their husbands. The constant cutting and restitching of a women's genitals with each birth can result in tough scar tissue in the genital area.

 

The secrecy surrounding FGM, and the protection of those who carry it out, make collecting data about complications resulting from mutilation difficult. When problems do occur these are rarely attributed to the person who performed the mutilation. They are more likely to be blamed on the girl's alleged "promiscuity" or the fact that sacrifices or rituals were not carried out properly by the parents. Most information is collected retrospectively, often a long time after the event. This means that one has to rely on the accuracy of the woman's memory, her own assessment of the severity of any resulting complications, and her perception of whether any health problems were associated with mutilation.

 

Some data on the short and long-term medical effects of FGM, including those associated with pregnancy, have been collected in hospital or clinic-based studies, and this has been useful in acquiring a knowledge of the range of health problems that can result. However, the incidence of these problems, and of deaths as a result of mutilation, cannot be reliably estimated. Supporters of the practice claim that major complications and problems are rare, while opponents of the practice claim that they are frequent.

 

Effects on sexuality

Genital mutilation can make first intercourse an ordeal for women. It can be extremely painful, and even dangerous, if the woman has to be cut open; for some women, intercourse remains painful. Even where this is not the case, the importance of the clitoris in experiencing sexual pleasure and orgasm suggests that mutilation involving partial or complete clitoridectomy would adversely affect sexual fulfilment. Clinical considerations and the majority of studies on women's enjoyment of sex suggest that genital mutilation does impair a women's enjoyment. However, one study found that 90% of the infibulated women interviewed reported experiencing orgasm.2 The mechanisms involved in sexual enjoyment and orgasm are still not fully understood, but it is thought that compensatory processes, some of them psychological, may mitigate some of the effects of removal of the clitoris and other sensitive parts of the genitals.

 

Psychological effects

The psychological effects of FGM are more difficult to investigate scientifically than the physical ones. A small number of clinical cases of psychological illness related to genital mutilation have been reported.3 Despite the lack of scientific evidence, personal accounts of mutilation reveal feelings of anxiety, terror, humiliation and betrayal, all of which would be likely to have long-term negative effects. Some experts suggest that the shock and trauma of the operation may contribute to the behaviour described as "calmer" and "docile", considered positive in societies that practise female genital mutilation.

 

Festivities, presents and special attention at the time of mutilation may mitigate some of the trauma experienced, but the most important psychological effect on a woman who has survived is the feeling that she is acceptable to her society, having upheld the traditions of her culture and made herself eligible for marriage, often the only role available to her. It is possible that a woman who did not undergo genital mutilation could suffer psychological problems as a result of rejection by the society. Where the FGM-practising community is in a minority, women are thought to be particularly vulnerable to psychological problems, caught as they are between the social norms of their own community and those of the majority culture.

 

Female Genital Mutilation

 

dicusss....

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Fuck that, I'm still pissed that they cut part of my cock off 8 days after I was born.

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FUCK!!! U do not wanna see flicks of this shit!!! Back when i was in 11 grade ( in like 1998) they made us watch some opera episode on the shit! Ill never think of pussy the same way.............

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I think any kind of genital mutilation is immoral and should be internationally outlawed, including FGM and circumcision. Fucking savages. Unbelieveably cruel.

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^^^ ye he has a good point, jews shouldnt be alowed to do that shit either,

its really wrong mutilating someones penis when they are too young to have any say on it,

and we all know deep down that there is no god so it's no reason to do such a disgusting thing

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^^^ ye he has a good point, jews shouldnt be alowed to do that shit either,

its really wrong mutilating someones penis when they are too young to have any say on it,

and we all know deep down that there is no god so it's no reason to do such a disgusting thing

 

speak for yourself. I'm circumcised and my penis is not mutilated. I had all 3 of my sons circumcised. I was there while they did it. They hardly even flinched. I think they were more annoyed at being held down than the actual circumcision. It's much cleaner to have a cut one, buddy. women don't even like to suck on them nasty uncircumcised cheese stix. Oh, and....there is a god...one day you'll be certain of it. To beleive that there is no god is just plain gambling. Sometimes you think you won, but ..in the end you lose it all.

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i dont mind my circumcism i dont think i would be any much different if i didnt have it but the way they are doing it to females,and how they are doing it, is just plain wrong

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Sorry, Dawood, but I ain't buying that cutting on a baby's dick is okay. In fact, cutting on babies because of some adult religious belief is majorly uncool no matter how you figure it. If the kid wants to be circumcised, then let him decide to get circumcised at age 21.

 

NO BABY CUTTING, PERIOD.

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Hahah irish, no it's a little different in purposes, between a female and a male circumcision. Male circumcision, i guess is for looks. A female circumcision is to prevent anything from going in there. This is the best picture I could google up.

 

circumcisionbm.gif

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Sorry, Dawood, but I ain't buying that cutting on a baby's dick is okay. In fact, cutting on babies because of some adult religious belief is majorly uncool no matter how you figure it. If the kid wants to be circumcised, then let him decide to get circumcised at age 21.

 

NO BABY CUTTING, PERIOD.

 

 

well, obviously, that's your opinion and your entitled to it. there's no sense arguing it out because it's doubtful either of us will change our opinion. If you think that circumcision is wrong for religious beleifs, then what about for medical reasons, (which is why a lot of Americans do it) Does that make it less wrong to you? Circumcision is very simple, man.

It's not some big barbaric bloody mess. They hardly even bleed. It's just a little skin that comes off. It seems to be widely accepted in most cultures and doctors readily encourage and practice it. There are no harms that I know of.

As far as women are concerned. I don't know of a benefit connected to female circumcision. I know that it was a cultural practice among some arabs and africans that had nothing to do with religion. Female mutilation is wrong though. No doubt. thats some tribal bone through the nose type of stuff right there.

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i also happen to think MALE genital mutilationm is uncool

 

if i ever have a son, i'm not letting some doctor cut off part of his penis.

 

 

that "medical" shit is bogus, there is no medical necessity for circumcision, unless maybe you never use soap in your life

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Guest Ginger Bread Man

 

that "medical" shit is bogus, there is no medical necessity for circumcision, unless maybe you never use soap in your life

:rolleyes: :shakehead: :D

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There are nerve endings in the foreskin, so technically uncircumcised guys feel more than the foreskinless-dicks during an orgasm. It's not really that much of a difference though, not as much as the difference between males and females. :) hah

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riiight it's not like i work in a research hospital or anything now is it gingerbread man

 

and wtf do gingerbreadmen know about dicks anyway? ha.

 

thanks also to kt08 for being the authority on male circum v uncircum v female orgasms.

must be nice to have actually experienced all these sensations for yourself.

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