Evidence Shows That Illegal Female Genital Cutting Is a Growing Phenomenon in US

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Female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) and female circumcision, is an increasing international concern to human rights activists and feminists across the globe. An estimated 140 million girls have been subjected to the practice worldwide and it is still prevalent in at least 28 countries according to theWorld Health Organization Progress Report in 2011.


In Western culture, mere mention of FGM sends feminist activists up in arms, generating intense negative feelings and evoking discussion about sexism, brutality and gender-based violence. However, while FGM is mostly practiced in African and Middle Eastern countries and classified as an “off-shore problem,” many Americans are unaware of the cultural complexities embedded in the custom and the fact that it is happening right under our noses.

According to a report by the non-profit group Sanctuary for Families, the practice of FGC is on the rise in the United States. The study claims that up to 200,000 American girls and women are at risk of FGM whether at home or through what is known as "vacation cutting," in which young women in the U.S. are sent abroad to undergo the ritual.

"People in the United States think that FGM only happens to people outside of the United States, but in all actuality, people here all over the country have been through FGM. Kids that were born in this country are taken back home every summer and undergo this procedure," a 23-year-old woman from Gambia stated in the report.

The document claims that traditional practitioners are often secretly brought in from overseas to carry out the ritual on U.S. soil, where an entire group of girls may be cut in an afternoon.

Written By: Jodie Gummow
continue to source article at alternet.org

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  1. godsbuster,

    Well, that is quite an article isn’t it. Ruined my whole day with it’s depressing content. The human rights violation of doing this to girls who can’t and don’t consent is horrific but when I read the accounts of the adult women who sign themselves up voluntarily for this…I just don’t even know where to begin to understand it. This was a particularly sickening quote from the article:

    When I returned to Sierra Leone, I was greeted by a supportive, embracing feminist society of women in my community. The practice was celebrated and girls were pampered and spoiled prior to the cutting. It was an opportunity for me to join a larger movement and I wanted to go through this experience because of the notion of empowerment.“

    I’m a feminist and proud of it. To any other so called “feminist” who cuts off a clitoris- you’re a monster and you disgust me. You are not a feminist, you’re a victim of internalized misogyny.

    • In reply to #1 by LaurieB:

      I’m a feminist and proud of it. To any other so called “feminist” who cuts off a clitoris- you’re a monster and you disgust me. You are not a feminist, you’re a victim of internalized misogyny.

      No true scottsman, eh?
      Some feminists think that they are empowered by circumcision. Some feminists think they are empowered by the burqa or islam or christianity or whatever. Who are you to tell them they are not?
      It just shows what a ridiculous bullshit ideology feminism is with its countless little branches. Pretty much like christianity. “My interpretation of god/feminism is the one true interpretation!”

  2. I ponder if awareness of the atrocity that genital mutilation is wouldn’t be better if male circumcision was commonly viewed as an ethical stain. As it is, and as the constant advocacy and international legislation attempts especially by islamic governments to exempt fgm from condemnation show, I’m afraid we won’t get rid of either as long as we coddle at least one of the two.

    • In reply to #2 by black wolf:

      I ponder if awareness of the atrocity that genital mutilation is wouldn’t be better if male circumcision was commonly viewed as an ethical stain.

      To be aware of the atrocity that female genital mutilation is, one must understand why it is so much worse than male circumcision. I’m all for banning both, but this distinction first needs to be made very clear.

  3. There are some parallels with foot binding. This practice wasn’t spread throughout china but practised in various forms in some provinces and by some dynasties. Bound feet were associated with femininity and ideas of perfection. Manchu women were forbidden to bind their feet but emulated the Han women by using a particular form of shoe to create the same swaying movement when walking. It took a long time to eradicate it and came about partly due to the growing consciousness of the Chinese that it didn’t make them look good in western eyes and other ideas about enfeebled women producing weak children and feminism had some effects. Imperial edicts outlawed the practice which didn’t work. It was finally eradicated by the communists probably with considerable menace.

    So what will it take to stamp out FGM? Pressure groups may build up some momentum and hopefully the cultures that practice it may take a different view if the issue is pressed hard enough. What are governments and law enforcement doing? In the UK I understand there hasn’t been a single prosecution since 1985 when the practice was declared illegal.

    It was a depressing article. Humans are too busy imitating ideals. Look at the western women who go to plastic surgeons and have boob jobs and arse jobs. It makes you think that if some people saw some attraction in it they’d have their arses sawn off and varnished.

  4. Many people think this has something to do with Islam. There is nothing in the Qur’an about it. It is a tribal custom. Various imams around the world are speaking out against it. Mothers cry “But I will never be able to marry off my daughter without it.”

    The key will be a single court case where the victim attempts to charge her attackers with aggravated assault or rape. Even the attempt will make mothers think twice.

    The male motive for supporting this is pathological jealousy. They want their wive to have no sexual desire for anyone, even themselves.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      Many people think this has something to do with Islam. There is nothing in the Qur’an about it. It is a tribal custom. Various imams around the world are speaking out against it. Mothers cry “But I will never be able to marry off my daughter without it.”
      (…)
      The male motive for supporting this is pathological jealousy. They want their wive to have no sexual desire for anyone, even themselves.

      I am increasingly doubtful that all this is imposed on females by males for purely male motives, at least in West Africa.

      I have some young Senegalese patients who were subjected to this ( Senegalese practice a milder form of clitorectomy) while on vacation at home, but they all say it was done by their mothers and/or female relatives behind their father’s back, without his knowledge or consent. They were also warned against telling male relatives. It was always justified by “TRADITION” as opposed to “RELIGION”, (in Senegal that’s Islam). Some complain that their fathers did not react sternly enough to their mothers misbehaviour when they did tell them, dismissing this as “one of those silly traditional things you women always seem to do when our backs are turned”. The young girl’s Senegalese boy-friends definitely DO NOT think it is a good Idea.

      Reports from France say that some West African immigrant parents are afraid to take their daughters home on vacation less elderly matriarchs should mutilate them when the parents go out and leave their daughters in the care of relatives! Again, the males don’t seem to be consulted on these things.

      It seems that in many of these areas men and women used to practice what were de facto different religions (today “traditions”, now that monotheism has spread) and that each gender had its secret rituals that were supposed to be kept secret from the other. Both seem to have involved mutilation of the sexual organs, extreme forms of circumcision for males, with not only the foreskin but all the epidermis of the penile shaft being peeled off, to be replaced by scar tissue, and FGM for the females.

      So I wonder if blaming all this on some kind of male chauvinist plot might not be barking up the wrong tree, at least in Senegal and elsewhere in West Africa. As for how to stop it, people of these countries will have to figure it out themselves, in Europe, it can be kept out of the European countries, but only if laws against it are zealously enforced, and aided by community programs amongst immigrant populations as seems to be the case in France and Switzerland, but not in Britain

  5. I look forward to the day when this barbaric practice will have it’s religious justification cast aside and be both regarded and prosecuted for what it truly is: grievous bodily harm.

    Rather, I HOPE for the day…

  6. I find the comments comparing this practice to circumcision to be a false analogy. It would be more comparable to removing the glans from the penis (tip) which is not nor ever has been a practice in any culture that I am aware of.

    It is truly a barbaric practice that has no comparison to anything that men have ever had to endure.

    • In reply to #7 by mxguitar:

      I find the comments comparing this practice to circumcision to be a false analogy. It would be more comparable to removing the glans from the penis (tip) which is not nor ever has been a practice in any culture that I am aware of.

      It is truly a barbaric practice that has no comparison to anything…

      I didn’t realise this debate was still going on. Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is like saying a haircut is the same thing as being scalped.

      • In reply to #8 by Katy Cordeth:

        Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is like saying a haircut is the same thing as being scalped.

        Yes! Clearly! I love you narrow-minded sexist assholes. That more than 1/3 of the whole male population should be completely ignored, because they are disgusting manbeasts. Nevermind that male circumcision is ethically wrong, that it has horrible complications, that the vast majority of circumcised people do not get circumcised under sterile conditions, that they receive no medical services afterwards, etc.
        Sure. Scalping vs haircut!

        • In reply to #16 by d3st88:

          In reply to #8 by Katy Cordeth:

          Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is like saying a haircut is the same thing as being scalped.

          Yes! Clearly! I love you narrow-minded sexist assholes. That more than 1/3 of the whole male population should be completely ignored, because they are dis…

          Yeah, there’s been a massive influx of gender ideologues into the atheist movement over the past few years. Sad really.

          Cutting off pieces of children’s genitalia is wrong. Full stop.

          • In reply to #18 by debaser71:

            Yeah, there’s been a massive influx of gender ideologues into the atheist movement over the past few years. Sad really.

            Cutting off pieces of children’s genitalia is wrong. Full stop.

            That’s a rather absolutist position to take, especially for someone who is criticising ideologues. There are real anatomical differences between male and female genitalia. If you are unable to see this then it’s a fair bet that some sort of idealism is blinding you to basic biological facts.

  7. In reply to #9 by Smill:

    In reply to Katy Cordeth, post 8. Yet male babies die from complications of circumcision.

    I’m not saying male circumcision is a good thing. I think it may help in reducing the risk of contracting the HIV virus, but that’s just one of the rare instances in which some asinine religious or cultural practice was found to have some positive side effects thousands of years down the line.

    And the lack of a fiveskin significantly reduces sexual pleasure in the male, which makes him less likely to go up and over like a pan of milk, as I believe the expression goes; which is nice for us girls.

    The point I think mxguitar was making, which I agree with, is that male and female circumcision are not remotely comparable.

    A more accurate comparison would be with something called a penectomy, although one imagines this operation is usually voluntary these days and is carried out with the benefit of anesthetic.

    • _In reply to #10 by Katy Cordeth:

      [Quote]
      “And the lack of a fiveskin significantly reduces sexual pleasure in the male,
      which makes him LESS LIKELY TO GO UP AND OVER LIKE A PAN OF MILK,
      as I believe the expression goes; which is nice for us girls.”
      [/quote]

      Your comments are utterly disgusting and repugnant!
      Its people like you who attempt to belittle and invalidate the pains of others, that severely compromise resistance to circumcision.

      The right to ones own body requires NO justification and NO explanation in the face of intruders and abusers!

      You said,
      [Quote]“Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is like saying a haircut is the same thing as being scalped.”[/quote]

      What were your motives when you made these claims that
      belittle those against male circumcision?
      Did you react out of the potential to feel guilt or shame at seeing parallels
      between yourself and those who practice female circumcision?
      Whatever the case, UNDERSTAND that your statements are a massive compromise to the opposition against these
      brutal rituals irrespective of gender.

      As for male “problems” that affect female sex pleasure,
      I suggest you read up on the neurological reasons behind them, because orgasm is mainly
      related to the functions of the brain like the reward circuitry rather than the penis.

  8. To RDFRS Administrators

    The poster on your Facebook link to this article claims that 200 million girls are subject to FGM each year. That figure must be way too high and is at odds with the figure in this article that a total of 140 million women worldwide have been subject to FGM.

    I don’t mean to understate the seriousness of this issue in any way, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s important to get the facts right.

    That said, I am drawing the conclusion that the failure of British police to get a single prosecution for FGM is a sign that institutional racism still exists in that service. And I apply the same blame to our politicians and media. Imagine the hysteria if just 1 middle class white girl were to be mutilated in this way. The pantomime fools seem to find plenty of time and money to whip up a frenzy about a few celebrities who committed a handful of sexual assaults about 40 years ago, and get them convicted, yet they can’t get a conviction for FGM when 2 or 3 girls are treated every day by the NHS for complications resulting from that barbarity. What on earth is wrong with them?

  9. Is it relevant to point out that in Elspeth Huxley’s ‘Red Strangers’ (foreword by Richard) the pracrice is automatic amongst the Kikuyu who haven’t don’t seem to be Muslims or have any real connection with that religion?

  10. In reply to #20 by Smill:

    In reply to post 19. Are you familiar with traditional male circumcision practices and the resultant risks of morbidity or amputation or death by one of the following: haemorrhage, septicaemia, anaesthetic, analgesia, blocked urethra? Of course, mortality and morbidity for females is much higher. But do you still think you should discriminate?

    Yes. In an ideal world there would be no genital mutilation, but female genital mutilation is much worse. It also irritates me when men bring up male circumcision on these threads.

  11. In reply to #22 by Smill:

    In reply to post 21. Why on earth should that irritate you? You don’t think men should take an interest in the indefensible practices that affect men as well? It’s still an act of violence in the name of culture, tradition, religion.

    Seriously, grow a pair.

  12. In reply to #22 by Smill:

    In reply to post 21. Why on earth should that irritate you? You don’t think men should take an interest in the indefensible practices that affect men as well? It’s still an act of violence in the name of culture, tradition, religion.

    Perhaps men should, but as a man I realise that I don’t really care. So the only effect of this will be to undermine the effort to rid the world of the genuine evil of FGM!

  13. In reply to #16 by d3st88:

    In reply to #8 by Katy Cordeth:

    Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is like saying a haircut is the same thing as being scalped.

    Yes! Clearly! I love you narrow-minded sexist assholes. That more than 1/3 of the whole male population should be completely ignored, because they are dis…

    Look, it’s perfectly simple. Male circumcision involves the removal of a small amount of skin; female circumcision is the mutilation of an organ, one which has evolved to be incredibly sensitive. I know skin is an organ too, and sensitive. It’s also something we as adults have been known to pierce with hot metal, decorate with painful tattoos, smear with cosmetics, and expose to harmful solar energy in the hope of altering its hue.

    I think I’m right in saying the clitoris is homologous to the penis; in other words they’re the same basic body part. Sort of but not entirely like the way men have nipples.

    Well, circumcision as it’s performed on males removes the bit that’s supposed to protect the part which when the procedure is done on females is mutilated.

    That’s what skin is for: it keeps safe all the sort, vulnerable inside bits and stops them spilling out while we’re driving.

    And that is why FGM and male circumcision are not comparable. It has nothing to do with some feminist agenda which ignores the suffering of the male of the species. Nor does it negate the suffering male children experience.

    They’re just not the same thing.


    In reply to #18 by debaser71:

    Yeah, there’s been a massive influx of gender ideologues into the atheist movement over the past few years. Sad really.

    I guess as a euphemism that’s a step up from feminazi.

    Cutting off pieces of children’s genitalia is wrong. Full stop.

    I think this is why FGM doesn’t receive the opprobrium it should. People hear about something called female circumcision and, think “Well, I had that done when I was little and I’m all right. What’s the biggie?” or “My hubbie is circumcised and he’s okay. I don’t know what the fuss is about.”

    ……..

    If male circumcision has been shown to reduce the likelihood that those operated on will contract certain sexually transmitted diseases later in life, which I think it has, and there are places in the world where such diseases are endemic and the only sexual education available involves telling young people that birth control is an abomination and abstinence is the only option, which I believe there are, is the cutting of infant genitalia always wrong?

    • In reply to #25 by Katy Cordeth:

      That’s what skin is for: it keeps safe all the sort, vulnerable inside bits and stops them spilling out while we’re driving.

      Sorry, I meant to say soft, not sort. Bloody iPhone.

  14. Any action by one person on another which causes an injury is assault except in the peculiar case of surgery where the person consents to the surgical procedure. Infants can’t speak and cannot consent. If an adult charged with a duty of care for the infant consents then the moral case must be that the surgery is necessary for the well being of the child in a medical context and not because it suits the mere whim or views of an adult.

  15. I find that this is an argument about sexual fulfilment. Men can be allowed to experience orgasm but it is wrong for a woman to do so. God made another big mistake, why did he provide women with a clitorus? How did this happen? This has nothing to do with a belief in a God but is done so that men are able to ensure that their women are not tempted to stray. As an atheist I have no problem with women’s rights but I do have one with regard to the abuse of any religious belief. Just as I have an objection to how religious fanatics twist science & misquote scientific articles to suit, what I consider to be, there belief in mythological beings.

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