I did not know there were different procedures that fall under the category of “female genital mutilation.” As she points out, the progressive press still tries to minimize the horror of the facts behind these practices. A NYT author suggests that we call it “genital cutting”, rather than mutilation in the spirit of understanding, I guess. You know, those who are “for” it, and those who are “against” it.
The recent news that a grand jury in Michigan has indicted three people, including two doctors, for female genital mutilation is a welcome development. As the first ever prosecutions of this crime in the United States, the case shines much needed light on an underground human rights abuse that has been going on for too long. Female genital mutilation has been deliberately covered up by those practicing it here or sending their daughters overseas during summer break to be mutilated outside of the law.
Yet, ham-fisted attempts to appear culturally sensitive by the likes of the New York Times reporting on this story will push these issues underground once more. The newspaper’s Health and Science Editor wrote that referring to female genital mutilation as ‘genital cutting’ is less ‘culturally loaded’ and will help to bridge a gap between those who practice FGM and those who campaign against it. In her eyes it’s a case of Africa vs. the West.
As an African who was subjected to FGM, now living in the West, allow me to help bridge that gap by explaining what we’re really talking about beneath the weasel words ‘genital cutting’.
There are five types of female genital mutilation performed on girls from as young as five years of age. Four of them are unarguably mutilation, and the other is designed to symbolize mutilation. I will start with the mildest.
[You can read the description of the five types of mutilation at the FOX link, above]
It is hard for people outside of communities practicing FGM to understand what is taking place. One example that has stayed with me over the years was a woman in the Netherlands that I translated for. I accompanied her to visit an obstetrician as she was having great difficulty with urination and menstruation. She showed the doctor her genitals after being subjected to the fifth and most severe type of FGM with her genitals completely removed. The stunned doctor asked if she had been burned. He could not believe that what had been done to her was deliberate, he assumed it must have been a horrific accident. But, it was no accident.
It’s for women like her that I started the AHA Foundation as a resource to help women and girls who are truly bridging the gap between worlds and cultures. They are living in the United States under the protection of our laws and Constitution but suffering human rights abuses imported from overseas.
The aim of FGM in all its forms is to control female sexuality. The clitoris is removed to take physical pleasure from sex and reduce the libido. In its more severe forms, involving sewing the genitals up, the aim is to ensure the girl is a virgin on her wedding night. Many women must be surgically re-opened (or simply with a pen knife or razor blade) in order to consummate their marriage. The consequences of FGM are ongoing psychological and physical harms from infections to fistulas and even death…
Please read the entire article. Everyone should know what this is, and why the laws against it must be enforced. My belief is that the maximum punishment allowed for committing this crime should be increased. As I understand it, that is five years in prison, at this time.