"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Friday, 11 March 2011

No Excision for my sister!

Well! unfortunately, female excisions still exist! In Khartoum (Sudan), the ancient practice of ablating girls' genitalia is still happening in some tribes. Most of the people believe that this practice is extinct or is only happening among a handful of the remotest tribes in the most underveloped of African regions. You are wrong. In France, we have some people in the Malian and Senegalese communities who still perform this practice on little girls!

GAMS Belgium, along with some twenty partners, is launching a national campaign to prevent the risk of excision during a holiday in a family’s country of origin.

Female genital mutilation includes all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons (World Health Organisation, 1997).

Excision involves the removal of the clitoris with total or partial removal of the labia minora. This represents 80% of genital mutilation cases. Infibulation involves removal of the clitoris and labia minora followed by stitching of the labia major, leaving only a narrow orifice for the passage of urine or menstrual blood. The mutilation most often performed is CLITORIDECTOMY or EXCISION - cutting off, without anesthetic, the clitoris and most of the external genitalia. 

This is practised in a broad area from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Coast. The most dangerous operation, INFIBULATION, OR PHARAONIC CIRCUMCISION, is customary in Sudan, Somalia, northern Kenya, parts of Ethiopia and all along the Red Sea Coast as well as in West Africa in parts of Mali and adjoining areas (see Map). 

After the clitoris is excised and all external genitalia are carved away, the bleeding raw edges of the large lips are held together by thorns or other fastening devices - until a scar forms to close the entrance to the vagina. The legs of the little girl are tied together for several weeks until the wound heals; a tiny opening is created by inserting a splinter of wood - to allow urination. Thus virginity can be proven before the bride price is paid to the father.

Where is it practiced?

  • In 28 African countries (look at the map!)
  • In the Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and by certain ethnic groups in Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • But also in destination countries in the west: Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
In certain African countries such as Somalia or Djibouti, female genital mutilation is carried out on the majority of girls. In other countries, such as Senegal or the Côte d’Ivoire, it only takes place within certain ethnic groups. The most severe form of mutilation, infibulation, mostly takes place in East Africa (Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea), but is also carried out on a smaller scale in certain West African countries (Mali, Nigeria).

More than 130 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation in Africa. 3 million little girls are subjected to this practice every year. 

Recently, in Portland, Oregon, a case was heard involving a young woman's plea against a deportation order. Though an illegal immigrant, she pleaded for suspension of deportation because her six- and four-year old daughters, if they returned to Nigeria, would be subjected to the same cruelty that befell her at their age: removal of part of the external genitalia. The woman's sister has promised she will arrange for the circumcisions should they return. A ruling is expected in late March.
 In France, there was a comparable case in 1988, when a Senegalese woman named Aminata Diop successfully fought a deportation order on the grounds that at her nubile age she was still at risk of being mutilated against her will.

And in Great Britain last year, in addition to suspended sentences handed out to two Malian women and a month-in-jail sentence to their husband (polygamy has followed immigration to western Europe), for arranging the excision of their daughters, a doctor was barred from practice for agreeing to operate on a thirty-five-year-old journalist posing as a Nigerian bride-to-be whose fiance wanted her that way. The doctor is reported to have stated in front of his "clients" that he knew the operation was illegal in Great Britain.

Kaplan, Roger. "`Prisoners of ritual'. (Cover story)." Freedom Review 25.2 (1994): 25. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 11 Mar. 2011.

National Prevention Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation.
In partnership with: Amnesty International, CCAEB-RVDAGEB, CÉMiS, CFFB, Collectif Liégeois contre les MGF, Délégué général aux droits de l’enfant, Ecoute Enfants, EXIL, FLCPF, Frauenliga, ICRH, Kinderrechtencommissariaat, Kind & Gezin, KJT, Le Monde selon les femmes, NPNS, NVR, l’Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance, Project HIV/SAM-ITM, SENSOA, SIREAS

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