" A Look Into Female Genital Mutilation"
"She only loses a little piece of the clitoris, just the part that protrudes. The girl doesn't miss it. She can still feel, after all. There is hardly any pain. Women's pain thresholds are so much higher than men's" (Denniston, 7).
This was a direct quote from an interview of people who unquestionably accept sexual mutilations. The interviews were conducted from 1979-1994 in Sudan and from 1984-1995 in parts of the United States and Europe. The exact location and date of the person who said this was not revealed. Sexual mutilations among females are also known as female circumcision, infibulations or clitoridectomy. Although there are variations in procedure, many times the above names are used interchangeable. The practice of female circumcision has long been a part of the lives of many young Muslim, Christian, Jewish and African girls.
The July 14, 1996, Los Angeles Times, states that more than 120 million women across a broad swath of the African continent have been subjected to the brutal genital mutilation. Most are children between the ages of 4 and 10 when the ritual takes place. Although Westerners condemn it as torture, child abuse and a violation of human rights, it remains a revered rite of passage in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, circumcision dates back almost 4,000 years. No one knows exactly how the practice began, though scholars speculate its origins lay somewhere along the Nile Valley.
The reasons for performing this procedure are almost as numerous as it's consequences. The procedure can simply be a small but painful nick across the hood of the clitoris, but is typically more severe. The most severe type of circumcision is called infibulation. The clitoris, inner labia and most of the soft flesh of the labia are scraped or cut away. Often with a double edged blade, scissors or even a shard of glass, performed by a close relative, midwife or barber. The July 14, 1996, Los Angeles Times, states:
"The child is then bound from waist to toes, and she will remain tied for weeks until scar tissue nearly seals the vagina. She is left with just a pencil-thin hole close to the anus for urination and menstruation. It can take the child a quarter of an hour to urinate, drop by drop. She could develop a kidney or bladder infection. When her menstrual periods start, they will last 10 days and she will be incapacitated by cramps nearly half the month caused by the near impossibility of flow passing through so tiny an opening. The odor of soured blood will linger".
"If the wound heals improperly, shiny keloid scars will crisscross the otherwise soft tissue of the vulva. Childbirth will be difficult, and the thick scars may have to be cut through to the rectum." The trauma of a child's pain transcends into adulthood. A normal and happy sex life is almost never enjoyed, and I am influenced to believe that the magnitude of female circumcision is not understood by the child and rarely explained. To some children it is a way to stop the painful teasing of others who believe that those who have not been cut are inferior. For most it is the only way to become a woman.
Female circumcision, better known as Female Genital Mutilation, is an ugly monster finally rearing its head from out of the depths of time. It can attack a girl at any age, with a little prompting from her society, and the aid of an unsuspecting human wielding the knife. Usually, it is performed from a few days after birth to puberty, but in some regions, the torture can be put off until just before marriage or the seventh month of pregnancy (Samad, 52). The reality of female circumcision is that it is still accepted, regularly practiced, and willingly exercised as a rite of passage for young girls into womanhood. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is believed to have been performed at least 1400 - 2000 years ago beginning during an era know to the Muslims as "al-gahiliyyah" or "the era of ignorance". FGM is generally associated