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John Wayne's Holster: WHO Seeks to End Female Genital Mutilation
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

WHO Seeks to End Female Genital Mutilation

Male circumcision is a cultural practice that has been going on for thousands of years. It essentially involves the removal of the foreskin. Historically, circumcision was performed for a variety of reasons. In various cultures it served as a "sign of submission to a deity, a rite of passage to adulthood, a mark of defeat or slavery, or an attempt to alter esthetics or sexuality".

Circumcision has also been performed on females. The reasons, however, are quite different. It is rooted more in a males desire to dominate or control females. In practicing cultures, females must be "pure" or virgins in order to be acceptable for marriage. The men in these cultures, on the other hand, do not have to be pure. In fact, in many cases, the men are quite experienced, and may even have venereal diseases at the time of marriage.

The practice of female circumcision is quite grusome. It involves the removal of the clitoris and the majority of the labia. The wound is then stitched so that the remaining labia will heal together, essentially creating a wall of flesh extending from the anus to the urethra. A matchstick or some similar object is typically put in place to create a hole though which urine can flow. How considerate!

The "circumcision" can be performed with a knife, a pair of scissors, a piece of glass, or perhaps a sharp stone. On top of that, it is typically done without the benefit of anesthesia and frequently leads to a variety of painful complications - both short-term and long-term.

When you consider what is really being done here, it is readily apparent that the term circumcision is really a misnomer when it is applied to females. Genital mutilation seems more appropriate. If males were subjected to the same thing, it would be the equivalent of lopping off the glans (the head), then slicing open the scrotum, tucking the trunk inside, and stitching the scrotum back up – all without any pain killers. Of course, a small hole would have to be placed in the scrotum to allow urine to drip out.

Many countries have laws forbidding genital mutilation. The only effect of these laws is that they appear to have driven the practice underground. As such, female genital mutilation is still commonplace today in many parts of the world, particularly in those regions where muslims or animist religions dominate. It is also common is the west in regions where practicing immigrant populations are concentrated. It even happens in the US.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently undertaken an educational effort to put a stop to this barbaric practice in counties where it is a common practice. Let’s hope that they are successful.


At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes, I could barely handle reading this. It is awful and yes let's hope the WHO is successful.


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