Controversial religious topics
About Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a.k.a. female circumcision, female genital cutting,
What It Is:
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an invasive and painful surgical procedure that is
without anesthetic on girls before
puberty. Various sources estimate that from about 60 to 140 million women in the
world have been circumcised. An
average of about four girls a minute continue to be mutilated. Their prepuce is
removed and their clitoris may be partially or completely removed. In some
traditions the operation is far more invasive: the labia minora are also
surgically removed and the labia majora are sewn together, covering the urethra
and vagina. A small opening is retained for the passage of urine and menstrual
fluid. IndyMedia Ireland has published a diagram showing various FGM techniques. 1
The result is that sexual feelings are either reduced or permanently terminated. Sexual
intercourse is often extremely painful for the woman. Childbirth often involves
a Caesarian section.
FGM has been a social custom in Northern Africa for millennia. Many people associate FGM with the religion of Islam.
Actually, it is a social custom that is practiced by Animists, Christians, and Muslims in those countries where FGM is common. There are many Muslim countries
in which the mutilation is essentially unknown, including Algeria, Iraq, Iran,
Kuwait, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. 2 FGM is nearly universal in Indonesia as well -- the world's largest predominately Muslim country. However the procedures performed appear to be minimally invasive in that country. 3
FGM is occasionally performed in North America and Europe on girls of families have
immigrated from countries where FGM is common.
An analogous practice, Intersexual Genital Mutilation, (IGM) is sometimes performed on intersexual infants throughout the world. These born with ambiguous genitalia that do not clearly match the typical male or female pattern. 2 Since it is much easier for surgeons to remove than to fabricate body parts, intersexual infants were often surgically treated to make them appear female. The infant was then raised as a girl. This has led to disastrous outcomes after puberty.
Topics covered in this section:
See a news
feed on women's issues. It shows 20 current news items, and is updated
every 15 minutes.
- "Egypt formally bans Female Circumcision," IndyMedia Ireland,
2007-JUN-28, at: http://www.indymedia.ie/ That web site states: "If
diagrams of female genitals (with or without clitoris) offend you don't look
at this image." However, they located the warning under the diagrams.
- "Training Kit: Prevention and Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation
among Immigrants in Europe," African Women's Organisation, (2005), Page 13.
Copyright © 1998 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally published: 1998-MAR-13
Last updated 2011-APR-07
Author: Bruce A Robinson
For a Belorussian translation of this page, see: on http://www.designcontest.com/show/fem-circ-be