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Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting - Page 6 - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

Discuss culture and traditions
User avatar
By e2c
We've been around the block on this several times, and I am not feeling up to another try. Apologies for any offense, though I stand by my views.

Hope you understand, and yes, I get that it's African women who said it. but I believe you are seriously misled in your understanding of what actually happens, and I've read your sources previously. They speak for themselves only, not for others.

best to you,
Last edited by e2c on Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
but you have not "read" my sources. i have spoken personally to many women from guinea and sierra leone, and i have had read views of many others on internet forums on issues in those countries. the women involved had the chance to hide their profiles but most of them chose to talk openly. these women have no reason to mislead their own fellow guineans/sierra leoneans (the forums are closed to the public and there are only a few westerners on the forums out of a few to several thousand guinean/sierra leonean members). now, i did not say that none of the more severe types of fgm/c occur in these two countries. in fact, i have talked to more than one guinean woman who had clitoridectomy. it also still occurs in some parts of sierra leone but on the whole it is less prevalent.

success in eradicating fgm/c in several communities in sierra leone (there have been some good inroads made there) has been largely due to health workers engaging in extensive dialogue with the elders/religious leaders, women and community at large to better understand their unique circumstances and the special significance of the rites to their lives. in this way it was possible for the sowei (guardian of the bondo or sande society), with acceptance from the community, to
modify the rites to omit the excision.

it is that place of understanding i am coming from. rachel seems to get this point well as her comments have come from a similar angle. you may choose to disagree with it, but in future please don't make assumptions about my views. in my opinion we wouldn't have had any altercations if you were not so quick to cast aspersions. so let's try to keep this impersonal and try not to read views that aren't actually being expressed. maybe we have more to learn from one another yet on this topic. we don't actually have to agree, though, which is the beauty og a forum.
User avatar
By e2c
http://awoko.org/2013/07/08/sierra-leon ... ak-of-mou/
Sierra Leone: Civil Society frowns at Bondo society break of MOU [posted 7/8/2013]

Civil Society groups in Freetown especially the Inter-African Committee against Harmful Traditional Practice are unhappy that Bondo society soweis in some parts of Freetown have broken the MOU they signed recently.

This follows allegations that recently about 36 Children and 15 adults were initiated in one weekend into the bondo society at Wellington in the east end part of Freetown.

Similarly about 25 adults including unspecified number of children aged seven and over were also allegedly initiated at Dworzack community.

Also, other initiations were said to have simultaneously taking place at Up-Gun Turntable, and the Kissy environs respectively.

The practice which was widely believed to have been a cultural practice by many Sierra Leoneans, is now gradually highly criticized by Human Rights organizations like Inter-African Committee against Harmful Traditional Practice, Amnesty International among others, as a move to subject women into subtle cruelty.

The Civil society groups are angry that the leaders of the Bondo society had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them, that no child under the age of 18 will be allowed into the Bondo society and that the girl-child has to give her consent before going through this right of passage.

According to the Civil society groups, since the closure of schools, there has been an upsurge of children being initiated.

However, school going children and others who have been educated about the evil practice in the bondo society are now at the mercy of those who believe that the society is part of their tradition and culture.

The Inter-African Committee against Harmful Traditional Practice spokesman Alfred Davies says the MOU signed by all parties should be respected and that parents should not force their children under 18 to undergo the ritual.
Tom Kondas mentioned his partner's being forcibly "examined" by members of what sounds like the Bondo society when she made a trip to SL - earlier in this thread, somewhere. her experience was not an isolated one, from everything I read at the time.
User avatar
By e2c
Research on the health consequences of FGC among Sierra Leonean women and girls


The section noting research conducted in both Benin and Nigeria shows a *lot* of nasty complications - really painful cysts, longterm infections, even labial fusion - and can't be ignored.

While I can see the reason for women having a society, it saddens me that this "surgery" is the price paid for joining. Surely there is some other, better way.
since you brought up the issue of consent, i have a link to a website of a medical anthropologist who specialises in research, discussion and education on issues relating to fgm/c. you can read some press articles on her front page, but there are links to more academic articles both by her and others further within her site. what i particularly like about dr. ahmadu is her honesty about all sides. many academics and activists do not tell the whole truth in order to help promote their stance. also, as a sierra leonean who grew up there (but went to a london university) she is likely to have a more frank disclosure of data from her research subjects, and less likely to misinterpret the data due to coming from an outside culture (error of interpretation) or viewpoint (bias).
User avatar
By e2c
Do you have any documentation by women from W. Africa who *differ* with her pov?

It sounds like Ahmadu is one of the Bondo Society's front women, to be honest.

Also, note that Ahmadu was 21 years old when she chose to go through this - she was not a kid who was pressured into it, who had no choice.

there's a huge difference right there; one that deserves to be highlighted. She was an adult; therefore, there was informed consent - and she could have decided to opt out and come back to the States. Children don't have that luxury.

Further, Ahmadu lives in the West, where she has no doubt had extensive choices re. aftercare and possible consequences and complications of the "circumcision" - again, a luxury that only a tiny handful of girls and women who live in West Africa could ever dream of getting.

I wonder, too, if she didn't take pain meds, sterile dressings, antibiotics (etc.) with her to Sierra Leone? imo, she'd have been crazy not to, and living in the West, she'd most likely have had access to an extensive array of meds and wound care products that W. African girls and women just cannot ever hope for.
User avatar
By e2c
Her claim of "surgeries" not being "mutilations" is exactly what was believed about foot binding in China, fwiw.

Also, there are a *lot* of Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean girls and women here in the US who *have* gone through the removal of all external genitalia + infibulation. In my posts from a couple of years back, there's a lot of info. We have very large refugee/immigrant communities from all of these countries, and it's crucial for medical personnel (and social workers, etc.) to understand what is customarily done, how they can help, and - frankly -what to do for pregnant women who have been mutilated. You keep emphasizing the low number of people who experience complications (and worse) re. pregnancy and delivery, when in fact, in populations where the most severe types of mutilation are practiced, the probability of serious problems is quite high.

Maybe this will help clarify? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/a-wal ... tiful.html


Edited to add: that Ahmadu is pals with Richard Schweder says it all (to me). I 1st came across Ahmadu's writing and claims around the time that this thread was started, fwiw.
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