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Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Tue May 25, 2010 8:07 pm
by Paul
arje06 wrote:Yes Paul, e2c was right it was not surprising us anymore because all of us know that, that was really a sin. We should be contented to what God gave to us. We can develop it and improve, but we can never have the right to change it totally, especially, on that matter. We should respect and take care of what God Almighty had been given to us. So that, we have a law about that states against the lesbianism and the womanish man.
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Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:40 pm
by e2c
From today's New York Times, and article about the success of anti-SGM/C campaigns in Sensegal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world ... wanted=all

Here are a few 'graphs from the article -

Image
SARE HAROUNA, Senegal — When Aissatou Kande was a little girl, her family followed a tradition considered essential to her suitability to marry. Her clitoris was sliced off with nothing to dull the pain.

But on her wedding day, Ms. Kande, her head modestly covered in a plain white shawl, vowed to protect her own daughters from the same ancient custom. Days later, her village declared it would abandon female genital cutting for good.

Across the continent, an estimated 92 million girls and women have undergone it. But like more than 5,000 other Senegalese villages, Sare Harouna has joined a growing movement to end the practice.

The change has not yet reached Ms. Kande’s new home in her husband’s village, but if elders there pressured her to cut the baby girl she is taking into the marriage, she said, “I would resist them.” Her parents back her up.

“They would never dare do that to my granddaughter, and we would never allow it,” said Ms. Kande’s mother, Marietou Diamank.

The movement to end genital cutting is spreading in Senegal at a quickening pace through the very ties of family and ethnicity that used to entrench it. And a practice once seen as an immutable part of a girl’s life in many ethnic groups and African nations is ebbing, though rarely at the pace or with the organized drive found in Senegal.

The change is happening without the billions of dollars that have poured into other global health priorities throughout the developing world in recent years. Even after campaigning against genital cutting for years, the United Nations has raised less than half the $44 million it set as the goal.

But here in Senegal, Tostan, a group whose name means “breakthrough” in Wolof, Senegal’s dominant language, has had a major impact with an education program that seeks to build consensus, African-style, on the dangers of the practice, while being careful not to denounce it as barbaric as Western activists have been prone to do. Senegal’s Parliament officially banned the practice over a decade ago, and the government has been very supportive of Tostan’s efforts.

“Before you would never even dare to discuss this,” said Mamadou Dia, governor of the Kolda region where this village is located. “It was taboo. Now you have thousands of people coming to abandon it.”...
http://www.tostan.org/

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:17 pm
by rachelnguyen
I read the article this morning and there were a few very salient points that struck me. First, Tostan discouraged the use of the term 'genital mutilation' when trying to get the Senegalese villagers on board. It was much more effective to be respectful of the culture rather than vilifying it. It was also important to have an Imam supporting the movement to abandon the practice. The NYTimes article also made the point that this effort took quite a long time, but that was time well spent because the whole-hearted acceptance of the change will insure that it is a permanent one.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:38 am
by e2c
I think you're right on those salient points, Rachel.... and it will not happen overnight.

but it can happen. (I have to admit that the word "cutting" still makes me cringe, though... if only because I can picture - all too well - being in the position those girls were/still are in.)

* One other important thing - that was mentioned in the photo captions, but not in the main article - is that people of different religions are involved in this practice, not just Muslims. (The latter being a distortion that I've encountered in the past.)

To be fully effective in Senegal, it seems that this campaign needs the support of some Christian ministers, not just imams.

And I really am impressed that Tostan is involved in helping establish educational programs (basic and advanced literacy and beyond) in Senegal and elsewhere. That it's not a single-issue organization is (imo) very important.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:14 pm
by e2c
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-develo ... nteractive

Per this, Guinea is still at 96%. (Second-highest incidence in Africa, after Somalia.)

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:02 pm
by michi
It's amazing that a country in which the practice is illegal has a 96% incidence rate. From the US Department of State website:
This practice is illegal in Guinea under Article 265 of the Penal Code. The punishment is hard labor for life and if death results within 40 days after the crime, the perpetrator will be sentenced to death. No cases regarding this practice under the law have ever been brought to trial.
Michi.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:56 pm
by e2c
Well yes, the statute is on the books, but how can they actually enforce it? It would require a very great change - among women, mainly - in attitude. (Much like footbinding in China, not so long ago.)

The idea of draconian measures being taken gives me the chills, but then, so does the fact that the practice is still so widespread, and not just in Guinea.

There are ongoing difficulties here in the US, where some immigrants continue to practice it (including some of the most severe forms).

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:49 am
by michi
e2c wrote:There are ongoing difficulties here in the US, where some immigrants continue to practice it (including some of the most severe forms).
Australia has had issue with this too. It's simply a consequence of globalization. People bring their beliefs and customs with them, whether good or bad…

Michi.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:47 pm
by e2c
Kind of off-topic, but...

Have you ever noticed how "globalization" is often used as code for "Those Other People"? (Whoever Those Other People happen to be.)

Those of us from a European background take it for granted that Our Way is the Best Way, without often (if ever) stopping to think that we have imposed our customs, languages and religions on lots of Those Other People. (Not to mention stealing their land and other natural resources.)

I'm not saying that to be critical of anyone in particular; I think it is *very* common among Americans in general and white Americans in particular. Since I fit both descriptions, it's very much a problem for me by default.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:28 pm
by michi
e2c wrote:Kind of off-topic, but...

Have you ever noticed how "globalization" is often used as code for "Those Other People"? (Whoever Those Other People happen to be.)
Yes, I guess this happens a fair bit.
Those of us from a European background take it for granted that Our Way is the Best Way, without often (if ever) stopping to think that we have imposed our customs, languages and religions on lots of Those Other People. (Not to mention stealing their land and other natural resources.)
I agree that Europeans (and, by extension, Americans) have their fair share of past and current crimes to deal with. On the other hand, I don't like to take on some burden of collective guilt. Just because I'm European doesn't mean that I can't criticise the behavior or beliefs of immigrants, just as it doesn't mean that I won't criticise the behaviour or beliefs of Europeans.
I'm not saying that to be critical of anyone in particular; I think it is *very* common among Americans in general and white Americans in particular. Since I fit both descriptions, it's very much a problem for me by default.
It's inevitable that people put others into categories. Black, white, Christian, Muslim, etc. It's necessary, if only to reduce complexity. People can't deal with everyone on individual merits because there are too many individuals. And there is a long line of evolutionary history behind us that has taught us to categorize for our survival. Tribalism is something that goes back all the way to the dawn of humanity.

Regarding FGM, I think it's an abhorrent practice that needs to be stamped out, regardless of who engages in it. I also happen to think that male circumcision should be stamped out. It's mutilation too, only with far less serious consequences. But, in either case, a child without say in the matter is being mutilated, which I consider a violation of human rights, regardless of how accepted the practice may be. (And male circumcision is very well accepted in the western world.)

Michi.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:36 am
by e2c
Yeah, I wasn't really meaning "collective guilt" so much as "responsibility." I think lots of us here live with the fiction that everything was nice and that Indians were happy to welcome the earliest colonists and that the Native Americans and Pilgrims sat down to a big feast and everyone was happy.

the reality is far more complex, and we're still *very* much living with its effects.

I think it's more than fair for non-white folks (of whatever background) to point it out, too,.

But that's just me. I don't mean to demonize anyone... it's just that we're in the middle of some very difficult stuff over here at the moment. It got me thinking...

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:56 am
by bubudi
one of the biggest barriers with getting through to communities (other than those that rachel mentioned from the article above) has been the overgeneralisation of fgm/c. for instance, clitoridectomy is not practiced in many communities. when coming into a community, it's important for health educators/workers to first get to know the exact practice, how it is performed, and what the cultural and social significance is. without this background information, it is not possible to positively reach communities. in my many conversations with african women on this topic, one of the two points that they keep saying is that anti-fgm activists don't understand the practice or the reasons for it, as evidenced by the overgeneralized propaganda that anti-fgm sites propagate (not my words but the women's!). the other point is that westerners are increasingly undergoing plastic surgery on their genitalia for purely cosmetic reasons. many african women see it as highly hypocritical to condemn fgm/c in africa but not the western equivalent.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:48 am
by michi
bubudi wrote:the other point is that westerners are increasingly undergoing plastic surgery on their genitalia for purely cosmetic reasons. many african women see it as highly hypocritical to condemn fgm/c in africa but not the western equivalent.
I saw a documentary about vaginal cosmetic surgery some months ago. It's not the world's best documentary. Somewhat seedy, and cashing in a bit on the "forbidden" nature of the topic. An important difference here though is that these are adult women who decide that they want to undergo the procedure. (The validity of the (perceived) pressure leading up to that decision is a matter for a separate debate.) But that's a far cry from an underage girl being told that this will be done to her, with no anaesthetic and in appalling hygienic conditions in most cases, and with no choice in the matter whatsoever.

Michi.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:48 pm
by e2c
Exactly, michi!

As for surgery on genitalia, "repair" of broken/nonexistent hymens has been commonplace in many countries (not the US, fwiw, though people seeking this surgery do come here for it) for many decades now.

It's not *all* the "fault" - or even misperception - of Western women. bubudi, even though I know you hate the word "mutilation" in this context, I cannot see it as being anything other than that.

Also, the kind of vaginal plastic surgery you're talking about - as absurd and repulsive as it is - is *not* intended to deprive women of normal sexual functioning, nor does it (to the best of my knowledge) create any problems with urination, menstruation and childbirth (i.e., normal physiological functioning) - unlike FGM/FGC/whatever you want to call it.

I find it ironic at best that you keep finding supposed equivalents that really *aren't* anything close to equal to the pain and consequences of the kinds of "surgery" we're talking about here, though I *can* understand why the kinds of elective gyn plastic surgery you've mentioned seem absurd (if not downright sickening and evidence of excess) to people who aren't from the West. (Especially seeing as lots of people who are *from* the West think it's deplorable.)

I know that reconstructive surgery to help *restore* sexual functioning and normal menstruation (etc.) has been raised earlier in this thread (with links to articles). the thing is, *children don't have a choice* (No. 1 on the list in terms of advocating *against* this), and those who are harmed in this way suffer serious consequences (even if it's *only* longterm, low-grade infections and painful scar tissue) for the rest of their lives.

That's something I could never wish on *anyone.* Period. Full Stop. No Debating. The closest I can come to a similar practice is footbinding in China, and *that* was a hideous thing that actually - like FGM - caused the deaths of many, along with severe pain, lifelong infections and loss of normal motor function due to the deliberate deformation of body parts - again, forced on children, who had no choice but to comply.

Re: Female Genital Mutilation or Genital Cutting

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:52 pm
by bubudi
e2c, although i understand that this is an area you have passionate feelings about, can you please try not being so personal in your responses. please reread my last statement and you will realise that none of them are my own opinions but those of african women. i did not condone the sentiments behind them or try to put them forward as facts, but rather said that the 2 points i repeatedly hear (again, from african women), are contributing to the resistance to efforts to eradicate the practices.

e2c, i assume your intention is to speak against the practices, therefore i am disappointed that again you are taking the salient points i put across to help explain the barriers to positive dialogue/change in this topic, and turning it into an indication that i am either condoning any fgm/c practice, or "keep finding supposed equivalents" (what others?), when i have been clear i am talking about views of the very women who this topic is about. in fact, many of these women have come to the west and received an education and built a career and are now in a position of deciding whether to have the practice done to their daughters. so my point is that these women, who abhore the more extreme practices of fgc (and who may be perhaps the most important people to target as they can understand the merits of choice, community dialogue, social activism, etc, and can make good role models for women in their communities), reject the efforts of the anti-fgm movement on the basis that the practices they are describing do not apply in their communities. particularly in west africa, there are communities where the practice (according to the women) does not involve clitoridectomy or fibulation and there are no deaths or long-term effects such as those you describe - the women say that all the women they knew in their communities led full lives, did not suffer from pain, difficulty urinating or recurring infection, and had no problem achieving orgasm. now, i know that in a great many areas of the world where "excision" is performed things are a lot worse than this, but the point i was making was that to reach people in a way that is likely to result in positive action, one must take the time to understand their own unique situation, rather than assume that all fgc practices are the same or have the same result on the girls/women concerned (again this is what the women were perceiving fgm/c activists as doing).

my objection to the term "mutilation" as i have previously explained has nothing to do with my personal view on the various fgc practices, and everything to do with the desire for female role models and women in general to be reached positively in this regard.