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I’ve been rallying against female genital cutting since high school but it seems that the publicity just isn’t really going anywhere fast. Publicity entitles that people know about it…thusly people don’t know. Well here’s my chance once again to speak out against it.
The social-behavioral characteristics of female sexual castration in Egypt with respect to age, place, agent and form of genital mutilations are summarized in Table 2. The majority of female genital mutilations occur between 6-11 years of age: 81.2%; 4.5% occur under 6 years of age; and 14.3% occur after age of 11 years. Virtually all genital mutilations occur before the age of menstruation, i.e., it is a pre-menstrual or pre-fertility ritual.
28 African countries and parts of the Middle East and Asia still today take part in female genital cutting or female castration.
a girl of about 4 to 12 yrs old is strapped or held onto a table. With a knife (and I’m sure we still realize were in the back woods of a country like Ethiopia) they remove all external genetalia – for those who know their anatomy, the labia (the outer folds, inner folds….everything. No anesthesia besides probably – maybe – a little liquor. The girls are sometimes stitched up so they leave only a small opening to urinate and menstrate out of. Then they’re set on their merry little way. The stitches are only removed later by the husband prior to intercourse, which for the now older female, is extremely painful, because there is no protection and only damaged nerves. With this ritual comes high risks for hemorrhaging, infections, and long term difficulties with not only intercourse but childbirth as well. Yet, the males, and some older females, still see this as an important part of cultural history and calued rite of passage.
It was found that 7.7 times as many normal women experienced sexual excitement to stimulation of the clitoris/clitoral area than did the genitally mutilated women. Masturbation (involving labia as well as clitoral areas) was the method of choice for sexual satisfaction that was 2.2 times more frequent in normal women than in the genitally mutilated women. Manual stimulation of the clitoris/clitoral area resulted in the experience of orgasm in 50% of the normal women and in 25% of the genitally mutilated women.
There are two notable findings from this preliminary survey. The first is that only 50% of normal (non-mutilated) women experienced orgasm with manual stimulation of the clitoris; and as much as 25% of the genitally mutilated women were able to experience orgasm in response to stimulation of the clitoral area. The extent to which orgasmic potential in the mutilated women is related to the nature and degree of genital mutilation is a subject for future research.
The majority of children (77.4%) subjected to genital mutilations were never informed as to what they were being subjected to, let alone given the opportunity to give informed consent. The women reported that they were deceived, assaulted, chased an violently immobilized to be forced to have their genitals mutilated. The remaining percentage of women (22.6%) reported that they were deceived, misinformed, and misled as to the imminent danger of physical violence and genital mutilation. Their "consent" was not "informed" in any legal sense of the word.
The following personal comments were recorded from the women who were interviewed:
"I was terrified to say No."
"I dare not say NO"
"I wasn't fully comprehending what was happening to me. I wanted someone very much to explain what was being done to me in vain."
"I was shocked and never was I able to comprehend until it was over."
"Please don't make me remember what happened, I am trying to forget."
"I cried and screamed for help and no one helped."
"I cried like mad, shouting `You all cheated me.'" (Then the respondent wept silently with a choking voice.)
"They told me: `You must be purified like the rest of your sisters, you are no exception.'"
"They attacked me by surprise."
"I saw the Daya holding a razor, then she hurt me."
"I couldn't believe my mother was with them; they all attacked me one early morning while I was still sleeping."