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Female Genital Mutilation

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Today while perusing links posted on twitter, I came across this story on Newsweek.  Now, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is no new topic to me.  We actually covered it in one of my sociology-type classes in high school.  This article though made it re-hit home akin to the way it did the first time I learned about FGM.

For those who don’t know, FGM is a cultural practice in which some part of a little girl’s genitals are cut off.  This can range from the least severe of “circumcising” her clitoris to the most severe where the clitoris and inner and outer labia are cut off and the vagina is then sewn closed with only a pin-sized hole left for urinating and menstruating.  To top it off this procedure is most often done in people’s homes with dirt floors by the elderly women of the community who use unsanitized knives and sometimes even shards of glass to perform the procedure.

Why is this done to these little girls?  Because their cultures perceive women’s sexuality as evil and dangerous.  Because if the woman gets actual pleasure from sex, she will be less subservient to her husband and more likely to leave him.  Mainly though, it’s that they think a woman’s genitals are evil and must be cut off.

To put it really lightly:  THIS IS FUCKING WRONG.

A basic human right is the ability to have an enjoyable sex life if you so choose, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.  Can you imagine if you knew you were completely incapable of ever having an orgasm?  Can you imagine what an affect that would have on your relationship?  It is a scientific fact that when a woman orgasms oxycontin is released in her brain causing her to bond with her sexual partner.  These women don’t even have that opportunity.  It was cut away from them.  It gets worse, though.  According to the victims in the article, sometimes the procedure is done so poorly that the woman is left with painful scar tissue, thereby making it not only not pleasurable but also painful for her partner to touch her.  This isn’t a case of a woman making the choice to abstain from sex.  It’s a case of a woman wanting to enjoy the pleasure others take for granted, but she can’t because of what was done to her as a child without her consent.  Honestly, Sila talking about her love for romance novels being marred by the fact she couldn’t have even a little bit of the pleasure the main characters have broke my heart.

Apparently though, there is some hope for women who had this atrocity committed against them.  The Newsweek article states that there is a new medical procedure that can at least partly restore the female genitals.  According to the article, this new surgery was discovered due to the work to discover genital restructuring for gender reassignment surgery.  NATURALLY, this surgery is deemed “cosmetic” by American insurance companies, leaving these mostly immigrant, poor women having to pay for their own reconstruction surgery.  This is akin to telling a burn victim her reconstructive surgery is cosmetic.  It is WRONG.

Well, Dr. Bowers of the hospital where Sila got her surgery won’t stand for it.  Dr. Bowers knows what it’s like to feel that your genitalia doesn’t match who you are.  She is a transgendered person herself, and she performs the procedure free of charge for these women.  Dr. Bowers says, “you cannot charge money to reverse a crime against humanity.”  Dr. Bowers is a hero.

Of course in an ideal world, Dr. Bowers wouldn’t need to perform this surgery on women, because their genitals wouldn’t be mutilated to start with.  I REFUSE to kowtow to political correctness and say “it’s a part of their culture.  We shouldn’t condemn it.”  It is WRONG, and I will keep saying it is WRONG until no more little girls are mutilated.

If you would like to help a woman who is a victim of FGM, please visit the nonprofit Clitoraid’s website.

Click here for more information on FGM.