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#696122 - 06/17/11 03:01 PM Female Circumcision
Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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This is a sensitive topic, so I'd like to ask up front that we all remember to be respectful towards each other's opinions.

For millions of girls, growing up involves a "rite of passage." The adults in the family - or more rarely a doctor - will hold her down and generally without any medication cut off substantial parts of her genitals. They then sew up the remaining area. Only a tiny hole is left for urination and, later, menstruation.

The thought is that the girl is much more likely to find a husband when altered like this. She won't think about having an affair - she's no longer able to get pleasure from sex. She's also a proven virgin - no other man will be able to have sex with her without it being very obvious.

On one hand people say "well, simply make it illegal." Some countries have tried that, but it means the mothers keep doing it but in hidden locations, with less doctor involvement, so the girls die more often.

On the other hand, just allowing young girls to be permanently mutilated like this seems troubling. It's one thing to say different cultures have different practices, but the UN in general has accepted that children should be free from torture.

My thought is that the main reason mothers do this to their daughters is they think that otherwise the daughter won't be able to marry ("no man will want her") and she'll starve to death. There's no other "path" open for a girl besides getting married and being supported by that man.

So my hope is to bring education into these areas so women can be nurses, teachers, and other things. (I.e. start with 'culturally acceptable female jobs' to try to make it work). As women realize they don't have to get married in order to get food, they might then be willing to "risk" death by starvation. And the more women who stand up for themselves and refuse to be sewn shut, the more that the men of that region will have to accept a wife who isn't wearing a permanently scarred into their body chastity belt.

What are your thoughts?


Edited by Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames (06/17/11 03:01 PM)
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#696133 - 06/17/11 03:36 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]
Lestie - ContainerGardens Offline
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Registered: 03/25/11
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Hello all,

For a graphic fictionally factual description of this horrifying practice, read the novel NILE by Laurie Devine. The first 10 chapters or so will tell you a lot and as far as I see it all you need to know.

Sadly much of Africa continues this evil practice though a great deal, and I mean it, a huge amount of lobbying, re-education and cultural conversations are happening all the time. Many modern city people are not afflicted or affected but in the rural areas throughout Africa the practice is a standard.

I always have room to move in my opinions as there are always extenuating circumstances and context with which to play for any argument. Unfortunately this is not one of them. My colours are firmly nailed to the mast.

This is a terrifying and evil practice that should have billions of 'dollars' thrown at it to eradicate and prohibit it. It belongs to the very dark ages of humanity and there is absolutely no room at all for it in this age. No amount of explanation or exhortation to accept cultural differences will change that.

For me, it stands next to clubbing dogs to death as they do in Indonesia.

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#696140 - 06/17/11 04:09 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
Horror_Movies_Editor Offline
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Registered: 05/06/05
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Loc: U.K
This is obviously just appalling beyond words. The only way would be to educate either the government or going around to these rural areas and educating the men and women.

Are there charity groups working out there to put a stop to this?

I'm sure the mothers are actually thinking they're helping their daughters, but most of them must have gone through this themselves. They most realize to a certain point that this is unnatural, and so if they're following a faith - I would think that they could be open to changing their views.

The problem I fear is that if something has been going on for so many years, it's a hard thing to break. It's barbaric and cruel beyond words.



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#696149 - 06/17/11 05:18 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Horror_Movies_Editor]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 17643
Loc: Reno, NV
I so agree with Lestie and Steven on this practice that mutilates girls. I have read about it before and it sickens me.

If we look back in time, over centuries of history, there have been similar practices that render a person incapable of the pleasure of sexual intimacy. Even human sacrifice to appease the gods was at one time an acceptable ritual for some cultures.

The horrifying thing about all this is that the people who practice these "rituals" actually believe they are doing the right thing.

Proper education in humanity and sociology is the best way, I think, to stop this practice on girls. I cannot imagine the psychological affect this must have on a girl which will last into her adulthood, her whole life! It really is very sad.
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#696151 - 06/17/11 05:21 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Horror_Movies_Editor]
Linda19 Offline
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Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: England
I do not think there is any faith that condones female circumcision. Male circumcision is considered to be a commandment from God in Judaism but is not prescribed in any other religion. It is carried out on the male population, usually as babies and without their consent.

Circumcision is a barbaric practice for both males and females.

Women who believe they need men to survive have been brainwashed and are oppressed. Do these men want to have women who feel no sexual stimulation during intercourse, and could possibly die in childbirth? Is it the mothers who want to continue this practice or the men? Would these girls starve without a man to support them or would they take advantage of life and make it on their own?

God created us the way we are, perfect in every detail. Who are we to tamper with God's creation? But who is going to to tell that to people who carry out these barbaric practices? And would they listen?

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Linda Heywood


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#696218 - 06/17/11 08:59 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Linda19]
Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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I think part of the issue is as others mentioned that the women who are doing it to others had it done to them. So they grew up thinking it was "normal". It's like hazing in a college fraternity. If a frat boy goes through it he hates it at the time - but then when the next group comes around and everyone around him thinks it's normal he is not likely to speak up about it. Or if he does, he's not likely to cause a change. It's a group mentality and they all went through it so "how bad can it be."

Also, in some villages, literally every woman who gets married has had this done. A woman who has not been "cleaned" in this way has no hope of marriage, and no ability to leave to go anywhere else.

Waris Dirie was a Somalian girl who literally raced away in the desert rather than go through this and a forced marriage. She honestly thought she would die and that death would be better. For many of these villagers, leaving the village is about equivalent to death. There is not a train station to hop on to New York City and make their way. There is nothing.

Waris Dirie on Wikipedia

So it's not beyond reason for the girls to think that there are few other options. Hopefully as we do *provide* other options, things will improve.

But again, imagine you're a poor girl in Somalia with no money and you run away from home. Let's say you somehow make it to another village without starving. What will happen there? If they have the same unclean-girls-are-nasty mentality, they won't want you either. If you end up in an actual larger town, you might end up being a prostitute, where AIDS rates can be 50% or higher. That's a death sentence too.
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#696225 - 06/17/11 09:37 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]
Lisa - Buddhism Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi Lisa, in your posts you've done a great job of outlining the complex issues involved in dealing with this. I was just listening to an NPR piece on this topic a couple of weeks ago. It also came up in a piece I heard in response to San Francisco's proposed ban on male circumcision, which greatly upset many people, who considered it a form of religious intolerance. I think that is how the villagers that practice female circumcision view 'outsiders' attempt to stop it also - as a form of cultural intolerance and Western arrogance.

Personally I do feel the pain and risk involved in this procedure, as well as the permanent change in a women's sexual responsiveness, crosses the line, and I support efforts to get rid of it. But I think you are right - education and creating more opportunities for women are the only way to really go about this, outright banning will just cause it to be done more often in secret. I do feel it is fundamentally different from male circumcision - in the show I listened to some doctors etc. came on and showed research that there is really no comparison in the pain levels involved, and that male circumcision actually does have some health benefits, in terms of decreasing risk of AIDS transmission and other diseases, whereas female circumcision has none of those. And of course there are the religious tolerance issues as well.

But it really is a complex issue - which cultural beliefs should be judged from the outside and which should not.
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#696266 - 06/18/11 07:34 AM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Lisa - Buddhism]
Linda19 Offline
Chipmunk

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: England
Female circumcision is not a religious practice but a cultural practice. There is no religion that orders the circumcision of men or women except Judaism where it is considered a commandment from God for men to be circumcised.

It is thought in some cultures that if the man's 'thing' touches the clitoris he will die!

The practice of female circumcision happens today in the USA, Australia, Canada, UK and France. Immigrants are still carrying on the tradition in secret, in the privacy of their own homes.

As for male circumcision having health benefits, all they have to do is wash! Why did God give them a foreskin? To protect the sensitive end of the male member. Most certainly not to cut it of in some religious ritual!

I don't think we will ever stop this practice. Who is going to educate these people and tell them that this is wrong? And even if they see it is wrong, if it is men who are demanding this practice, then they will see to it that it continues. If it is the women who insist upon it, then they must be told it is unnecessary.

How does the process of re education begin?
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Linda Heywood


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#696508 - 06/19/11 08:37 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Linda19]
Linda19 Offline
Chipmunk

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: England
The Controversy of Female Genital Mutilation

www.bellaonline.com/articles/art55750.asp

This article written by our Body Art Editor Rae Schwarz details what happens to these girls when they are circumcised. An excellent article.
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Linda Heywood


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#696509 - 06/19/11 08:38 PM Re: Female Circumcision [Re: Linda19]
Linda19 Offline
Chipmunk

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 1293
Loc: England
The Practice of Circumcision

www.bellaonline.com/articles/art30727.asp

My own article on this barbaric practice on both boys and girls.
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Linda Heywood


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