Friday, May 21, 2010

female genital mutilation

In a slightly less flippant article, Ayaan Hirsi Ali - author of the autobiography Infidel and survivor of FGM - speaks out against the AAP's proposal to allow a "ritual pinprick." She describes the four different levels of female "circumcision," beginning with the harmless-sounding "nick:"

To give you an idea of what that means, visualize a preteen girl held down by adults. Her clitoris is tweaked so that the circumcizer can hold it between her forefinger and her thumb. Then she takes a needle and pierces it using enough force for it to go into the peak of the clitoris. As soon as it bleeds, the parents and others attending the ceremony cheer, the girl is comforted and the celebrations follow.

There is a more sinister meaning to the word "nick" if you consider the fact that in some cases it means to cut off the peak of the clitoris. Proponents compare "nicking" to the ritual of boy circumcision. But in the case of the boys, it is the foreskin that is all or partly removed and not a part of the penis head. In the case of the girls, the clitoris is actually mutilated.
The AAP has suggested that U.S. lawmakers allow doctors to engage in this practice in order to prevent girls from being forced to undergo any of the other three forms of FGM. In the second form, part of the clitoris is removed and the opening of the vagina is sewn together (infibulation). The third form includes the removal of the inner labia. The final, and most extreme variation on the tradition, involves removing the entire clitoris and the inner and outer labia, followed by scraping the inner walls of the vagina until they bleed. The entire orifice is then bound together, leaving only two small openings "roughly equal to the diameter of a matchstick" for urination and menstruation. This results in a thick band of scar tissue, which is difficult to penetrate, thus making sex an incredibly painful ordeal and giving birth an extremely dangerous process.

1 comment:

asthmabunny said...

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