Source: The Daily Bell
Female circumcision, more accurately termed genital mutilation, is a barbaric assault carried out on young girls for religious and cultural reasons. Although generally considered an African and Islamic practice, the process of removing some or all of the clitoris is unfortunately carried out across the world, and not strictly confined to specific religions. An estimated half a million girls living in the United States have been subjected to the brutal practice, or are at risk of being victimized.
A high profile case is unfolding in Michigan where a female doctor has been accused of mutilating the genitals of two young girls, and this has sparked a call for awareness of the problem, and reform to prevent it from continuing.
“It’s taken me a long time to be as comfortable as I am,” said Taher, who hopes that her Sahiyo campaign to end female genital mutilation will gain momentum from the Michigan case. “We can’t have this happening … Whether it’s a tradition, for religious reasons or for sex, I see all of it as controlling someone. This is a form of gender violence. It’s a form of child abuse. It’s oppression.”
Religion and culture are generally used as excuses for female genital mutilation, and ironically sometimes the older woman who had the practice done to them in their youth are some of the biggest proponents of carrying on the tradition.
And fathers who want their sons to “look like them” contribute to why male genital mutilation continues. Make no mistake about the psychological impact. Just as Taher has had to struggle to be comfortable with herself, many men who were circumcised as infants feel just as much internal turmoil.
I talked to one victim who wished to remain anonymous because he generally keeps quiet about his feelings on his own circumcision, rather than face ridicule.
Unlike most cut guys I am aware that I’m ‘missing out’, so to speak, and this consistently causes me emotional and psychological pain and stress on almost a daily basis. I can’t even urinate without seeing my mutilated penis and feeling awful about it. Emotions range from sadness and depression to anger and frustration.
Yet most people brush off the crimes against baby boys because it is part of the American culture, or because it is for religious reasons, or because it is supposedly cleaner.