20 April 2015
Into the Cut
Imagine seven women surrounding you to hold down your limbs as another looms over you with a crude medical instrument and, if you’re one of the “lucky” ones, a syringe filled with local anesthetic used for the many girls that have undergone the same unnecessary procedure before you. The elder preforming the cutting is no medical professional. The only training she has is from the procedures she has performed on the other girls in your village. Your bloodcurdling screams rip through the town as they beam with pride that you’re following the cultural tradition that has been waging war on the given right of sexual pleasure and choice for women for 5,000 years. As you sob, the woman sews your labia closed and tie your legs to promote quicker healing. Your mother is no doubt cradling your head, smiling and whispering, “now, you are pure. Now, you are a woman.” Every detail will remain etched into your memory as you’re between two and fifteen-years-old.
Horrifying, isn’t it? This procedure is female circumcision, or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). There are four types. Type 1 is the removal of the clitoris and surrounding tissue. Type 2 is excision of the inner labia and clitoral tissue. Type 3 is the most prevalent in Somalia and the most extreme. Not only is the labia and clitoral tissue cut and removed, the outer lips are sewn shut with only a small hole left for urine and menstrual fluid. Type 4 is everything else; branding, piercing, cutting, stretching, vaginal cutting, etc. Though, most of the world is making great strides to prevent it from happening, it is estimated that over 125 million women between 18 and 49 still had this done to them. In Africa and Asia it is still very prevalent. In Somalia, over 97.8% of women between 15 and 49 have had their genitals cut and sewn.
Why? Why would anyone do this? Why would anyone allow their daughter to have...
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