With only three months left before our second annual “Walk to End FGM” on Saturday, October 31, 2015, we are sending out a registration reminder to you. The months will escape you shortly, and we don’t want you to miss out on the early bird registration fee. We are anticipating a larger turnout this year so get in early on the excitement! Visit our website at www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org and register to Walk to End FGM. You may start a team, join a team or make a donation if you are unable to join us. We look forward to seeing you there!
You can host an “End FGM Social” in your home city and Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation will come to you and do a presentation. As the campaign against female genital mutilation gains continued recognition in the United States and around the world, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation invites you to help us share knowledge of the practice with attendees at your next conference, your next social event, in your home, with students in your academic institution, in your community center or in your place of worship.
A Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation advocate will travel to your “End FGM Social” and will do a PowerPoint Presentation, share a film, lead a discussion or deliver a talk on one of the following topics or a topic of your choice on FGM:
- U.S. Laws on FGM
- The United Nations and FGM
- The History of FGM
- The Benefits of the Restorative Surgery
- The Psychological challenges FGM Survivors Face
- Vacation Cutting and the Law
- The FGM Connection to Infant & Maternal Mortalities
- FGM and Child Marriage
If you are interested in educating your friends, neighbors, family members, community, attendees at your next event or students on the facts about female genital mutilation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 703.818.3787 or visit our website at www.globalwomanpeacefoundation.org. We look forward to hearing from you and possibly seeing you at your very own “End FGM Social”!
By A.M. Peabody
Female genital mutilation, more commonly known as FGM, female circumcision or even female genital cutting is the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons. External genitals include the clitoris, the labia, the pubis (the fatty issue over the pubic bone), and the urethral and vaginal openings. The clitoris is the small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals.
Over the years, there have been debates over an acceptable name to call the practice of removing all or parts of the female genitalia. To quote a survivor of the practice, “Regardless of what it is called, it is what it is. No sugar-coated name can erase what was done to me when I was five years old.” Many women who are survivors of the practice become offended if someone refers to it as “cutting” or “circumcision”. They feel that those words tend to lessen the magnitude of what they suffered so many years ago or what little girls continue to suffer daily around the world.
The traditional type of FGM, known as the Sunna Circumcision consists of the removal of the retractable fold of the skin and the tip of the clitoris. Ninety-seven (97%) of Egyptian girls undergo the Sunna Circumcision. In some West African countries, the tip of the clitoris is removed.
The Clitoridectomy type consists of the excision of the clitoris in its entirety and the removal of the adjacent labia. It is usually performed as part of female initiation rites, mainly among certain African ethnic groups, but also sometimes used in various societies to curb sexual desire. It was also known as the 20th century solution to preventing masturbation among girls.
The Infibulation type, known as the Pharonic Circumcision consists of performing a Clitoridectomy and the removal of all or part of the labia minora and the labia majora. During this type, whatever skin is left is usually stitched up, allowing only a small hole to accommodate urine and menstrual blood flow. In some cultures, the Infibulation type consists of the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and sewing over the outer labia, with or without removal of the clitoris or inner labia. This type is extremely painful and distressing to the girl. It damages the sexually sensitive skin and causes an on-going infection risks. The closing over of the vagina and the urethra leaves women with a very small opening through which to pass urine and menstrual fluid. Some women can take up to half an hour for a single urination due to the small opening. The opening can be so small that it needs to be cut open to be able to have sexual intercourse. Cutting is also needed to give birth and can cause major health complications that can result in maternal and infant mortalities.
The fourth type includes Different Practices of variable severity including pricking, piercing or incision of the clitoris and/or the labia. This type also consists of stretching of the clitoris and/or the labia, cauterization of the clitoris and scraping or introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina.
Whether it is the Sunna type, the Clitoridectomy, the Infibulation or pricking, piercing or stretching, does it really matter what it is called? Does referring to it as female genital cutting or female circumcision make it any less harmful to the little girls that endure the physical and psychological pain? It is easy to be politically or socially correct by referring to the practice as something less alarming; however the purpose of the discussion is the goal to end the practice, and spare the lives of millions of little girls. Let us not divert our attention from the atrocity of this practice to what it should be called. Let us focus on how to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM); yes, female genital mutilation.
By Waris Dirie
This story first ran on the Desert Flower Blog two weeks ago. The author, Waris Dirie, a survivor of FGM asked that the story be circulated.
I am furious! Together with my Desert Flower Foundation, I demanded for years that parents from countries where FGM is practiced shouldn’t be allowed to take their little daughters to their home countries.
As soon as school holidays in Europe begin, plenty of mothers and grandmothers are traveling with their young daughters on airplanes to Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Djibouti, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi. I witnessed this myself several times in airports in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich and Rome.
You never see a little boy traveling with them. How come? Wouldn’t the families in Africa like to see their grandsons? On the plane I always try to speak to these families directly in order to discuss the problem of FGM, to explain to them that FGM is prohibited and to make it clear that they are not allowed to hurt their daughters in this way. Usually, they don’t want to speak about it or they respond that FGM is their right and tradition.
Last Friday, for the first time, the British police seized passports of two girls who were believed to be taken overseas for FGM. The same day, Liberal Democrat at peer Baroness Tonge witnessed more than 50 little Somali girls who flew “on holiday” with their mothers or grandmothers on the plane from London to Addis Ababa. Baroness Tonge contacted immediately the Metropolitan Police. What is arguably the reason for this trip? The police at the British airports, who should control families traveling with her daughters to these countries, didn’t notice this group. Now, the families will be checked on their return to England according to the passenger lists.
Today, the US organization Equality Now has published a study saying that 507,000 girls are affected by FGM in the US. The British authorities believe alone in the UK 20,000-30,000 girls are threatened by FGM during summer holidays.
FGM isn’t still taken seriously enough. People practicing FGM are aware of that fact and will never stop performing this brutal crime without serious controls and bringing them to court!