A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.

5/23/2010

Female Genital Mutilation

I remember the day I first learned of this atrocity going on against females throughout the world.  I was reading a woman's magazine and came across an article by a woman who had recently come to the United States...and I remember how my skin crawled and how angry I was as I read her story.  And as I read, I thought about how really lucky I am.  I wanted to do something, to stop this needless tradition, but felt so helpless.  I am still helpless in that I, as one person cannot halt it from occurring, but I learned that I can join with others to voice my opinion.  Strength comes in numbers.

"The knife cut down the guardian of the village today.
Now he is dead and gone.
Before the village was dirty,
But now without the guardian it is clean.
So look at us, we are only women and the men have come to
beat the tam-tam.
They have phalli like the elephants.  
They have come while we are bleeding.
Now back to the village where a thick Phallus is waiting.
Now we can make love because our sex is clean."

Throughout the world, harmful traditions to women are being carried out within the family. The above lyrics are sung by young Kenyan girls after they have endured the process of female genital mutilation,  sometimes referred to as female circumcision.  It is a horrendous injustice to women that occurs everyday in this world, but it is so culturally entrenched with the citizens of many African, Middle Eastern, and other immigrant communities worldwide. 

The types of circumcision are:

  • Type 1:  involves removal of the clitoral hood with or without removal of part or all of the clitoris.
  • Type 2:  involves removal of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora.
  • Type 3:  removal of all or part of the external genitaliaand stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual flow.
  • Type 4:  unclassified and includes all other types of operations on female genitalia including piercing, stretching, cauterizing, and incisions to the vaginal well.

The procedure is often carried out with crude tools such as scissors, scalpels, razor blades, and even shards of glass are used for mutilating the genitalia.  In addition, the mutilation most often occurs in an unsanitary room.  Anesthetics are rarely used, and the female is usually held down while screaming in pain as she is mutilated. It is a practice can lead to infection, mental trauma, sterility, complications in childbirth, hemorrhaging, and death.

Female circumcision is a very unnecessary procedure which is believed to practiced to reduce the sex drive and keep girls virgins until they marry and to prevent rape from happening to them. It is a tradition and social custom which has nothing to do with religion.  Girls who have very little education and are dependent upon their parents have little choice. If they remain uncircumcised, their families will not be allowed to arrange a marriage, and they will be cast out of the village with no means of taking care of themselves.   Furthermore, those that do resist are often cut by force.   

In many countries where the practice is widespread, laws have been passed to make FGM illegal.  In addition, widespread education on its dangers has had some effect, but so much more needs to be done. Unfortunately, there is no miracle solution but perhaps through the process of one small step at a time, this practice will one day be eliminated.  For further reading, please see the following:


FGC Education and Networking Project

WHO 

3 comments:

  1. such a horrific tradition...i can't even imagine

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  2. I also was shocked and angered when I first heard of this practice. Thank you for posting this. It is important to have knowledge and then do something...I will go and learn more.

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  3. When I first heard about it i couldn't believe it. just reading this article is makind me cringe.

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