Saturday, July 5, 2008

Female Genital Mutilation

The term Female Genital Mutilation also known as FGM was coined by the United Nations to refer to a practice found in some African and Middle Eastern cultures whose origin goes back during the era of the pharaohs of Egypt where women underwent the ritual of clitoridectomy which implied removal of the clitoris, and infibulation meaning to surgically cut-off either the labia minora or labia majora or all at the same time. Many reasons have been given as to why people of those days applied this excruciatingly painful procedure to their wives and daughters. One theory suggests that Egypt of those days was always embroiled in wars with itself or with her neighbors which meant women and girls left behind became prey to servants and other men around them. We also learn from authorities familiar with the cultural practices of Egypt, Nubia, Abyssinia, and Puntland (Somalia) how women resorted to unusual artificial sexual procedures to satisfy their sexual desires in the absence of their men.

In today's modern age of communication and globalization coupled with rigorous applications of sex education, and despite the scourge of HIV/AIDS epidemic and other sexually transmitted diseases, governments are unable to erase this ancient practice from their domains. In some communities especially in Sudan and Somalia, the practice is so common that it is as if those engaged in the practice are going by the adage: 'old customs die hard'. Almost 90% of women in Sudan and Somalia have had the cut in one form or the other.

While many who practice FGM cite religious references, Islamic scholars refute its use in the strongest terms. It is neither obligatory nor supererogatory. It is simply a cultural norm that has been in continuation for millenniums which can only be eradicated through thorough education, dissemination of information, and endless concerted efforts by using the print and mass media for a long time to come.

Removing the clitoris of a woman is like removing the penis or tongue of a man. Where there is no tongue, there is no sense of taste; and where there is no penis, penetration, climax, and erection are hard to achieve. No matter how many Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra a penis-less man consumes, sexual satisfaction will remain an elusive attraction.

The agony faced by the millions of women who had the cut cannot be described in a simple essay. We'll leave it to our experts to come up with remedial measures to save the rest who are waiting in line for the procedure from further harm.

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