Surgeries and modifications

There’s the Hastings Center report itself, which was the source of Lisa Wade’s article. Zinnia Jones has a great, detailed post on it. I’ll just mention some things that jump out at me.

Starting with the title.

Seven Things to Know about

Female Genital Surgeries

in Africa

They’re not surgeries. If you’re walking down the street and someone tears your arm off for the fun of it, that’s not surgery. [Read more…]

Women who

Now that the first steam has dissipated a little, a closer look at one part of Lisa Wade’s “Balanced Look” at cutting off parts of the genitalia of very young girls.

The third item in her list of useful things for people to know so that they can take a more “balanced” approach to Female Genital Mutilation.

Research has shown that women with cutting are sexually responsive.

Women who have undergone genital surgeries report “rich sexual lives, including desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction…” [Read more…]

Thousands of British girls are the victims of wounding with intent

Nick Cohen notes that it’s progress when violence against women and girls is treated as such.

Odd though it may seem to older readers, the Crown Prosecution Service now regards itself as a liberal organ of the state. This week it is making a great play of its success in deterring violence against women. Its lawyers brought 91,000 domestic violence prosecutions last year and secured 67,000 convictions. As I have mentioned in this space before, many criminologists believe that the willingness, not just of prosecutors and the police but of wider society, to take violence against women and children seriously explains the welcome fall in homicide rate.

Well it would, wouldn’t it. If fewer women are killed then the homicide rate will fall, unless killers decide to kill more men to make up the numbers, which seems unlikely. Plus taking violence against women and children seriously has the added advantage of taking violence against women and children seriously. It’s quite a good idea to take violence against all kinds of people seriously, just in case no kinds of people actually deserve to be the object of violence.

But anyway, despite this one bright spot, all is not well.

But officialdom’s concern for abused women is strictly colour coded.  The CPS will defend women’s rights, but only the rights of white women. Girls with black or brown skins can go hang — or, rather go have their genitalia cut to pieces.

FGM, in other words. It’s not being seen as another form of violence against girls. [Read more…]

Those “moderate” Islamists running Egypt

Like Freedom and Justice Party MP Azza al-Garf, who publicly supports FGM.

Egypt’s New Women Foundation said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genital mutilation (FGM) statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court.

Garf was reported saying that FGM is an Islamic practice and that the anti-FGM laws should be amended. Garf is a Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) member, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

“We are on our way to sue Garf to preserve our rights and the gains of Egyptian women,” said the open letter to the speaker.

“We are suing her for going against Egyptian laws that criminalize sexual harassment and FGM, practices that goes against women rights and human rights.

“We completely refuse Garf’s statements and announce that she does not represent us.”

But Garf thinks Allah wants little girls’ genitalia chopped off. Garf worships an evil shit.

The Muslim Brotherhood calls it beautification

Via Deeyah, via Mona Eltahawy: Azza El Garf of the Freedom and Justice Party – the Muslim Brotherhood party – disapproves of the ban on FGM.

She condemns the notorious “virginity tests”  that military officers and doctors are accused of perpetrating on a group of female  protesters in March 2011.

But she disagrees with Egypt’s 2008 ban on female cutting,  which opponents call genital mutilation. The World Health Organization defines it  as the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury  to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

“It is a personal decision and each woman can decide based on her needs. If she needs it, she can go to a doctor,” El Garf said,  adding that the Muslim Brotherhood refers to the practice as beautification plastic  surgery. She was adamant that it was a woman’s choice, and hers alone, to have the  outlawed procedure and should be done in consultation with a trained medical professional.

But it’s not about “women” making a “choice” to get their external genitalia sliced off. It’s about women “choosing” to have that done to their very young daughters. Prattling about “choice” as if it were a fucking manicure or a haircut is insulting.


It’s not a priority

I saw a powerful BBC report on FGM in Egypt the other day.

The most chilling part is at the very end (11:00) when Sue Lloyd Roberts asks a Salafist honcho if he’s on board with the campaign to end FGM and he said it’s not a priority. She pressed him by saying, “So you wouldn’t deter a mother who wants to get her underage daughter mutilated.”

He stared for a second and then said, with a tiny smirk, “I have nothing further to say on this matter.”

Sue Lloyd Roberts in voiceover: “The will of mothers like Olla will therefore be respected, and 11-year-old Raja will be mutilated.” Freeze-frame on young Raja.

Men couldn’t hear the girl’s screams

One small bit of good news, for a change.

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.

But good news of that kind is of course always too late for some…for many.

Bassi Boiro, the elderly woman who was Sare Harouna’s so-called cutter, said she always performed the rite before dawn under the spreading arms of a sacred tree, away from the settlement.

“Men couldn’t hear the girl’s screams,” she explained. “They are not part of this.”

Four women would hold down the arms and legs of each girl, usually ages 5 to 7. For years, Mrs. Boiro said, she used a knife handed down through generations of cutters in her family until it became “too dull to even cut okra.” She then switched to razor blades.

But Mrs. Boiro says she has now accepted Sare Harouna’s decision to end the practice and speaks about the harm caused by her life’s work. “I didn’t realize it was my doing,” she said.

Muusaa Jallo, the village imam, was convinced of the need to stop the practice and has spread the word in many other villages. As his toddler impishly poked her finger through a hole in his sock, he placed his hand gently on her head and said, “I have already decided this one will not be cut.”

His 8-year-old, Alimata, sat solemnly to the side, her eyes downcast.

“I will abandon it like my parents,” she said, almost inaudibly. “I won’t do it to my daughters. It’s not good to do that, and they did it to me.”

8 is very young to know that it’s too late for you.

My faith dispels any doubts

And by the way three cheers for female genital mutilation.

…some communities see the practice as an integral part of their culture. “I have two daughters and five nieces, all circumcised by doctors. I do not consider it a human rights violation because, according to our religious teachings, it has been divinely ordained. My faith dispels any doubts that some might put in my mind,” says Shaheen Abdullah.

Good old god! “He” designed us the way we are and then ordained that the females of us have to have our genitals chopped off. Why not just not include the genitals in the original package then? Why construct the thing only to ordain that it should be carved up and peeled away and stitched closed?

Human rights v divinely ordained – that’s what it keeps coming down to, time after time. “Divinely ordained” turns a stupid, brutal,  destructive mutilation into a good thing and “an integral part of their culture.” A pox on “divinely ordained.”