Genital Mutilation: Why does it happen to women?

Female genital mutilation is the removal of any part or whole external parts of the female sexual organ for reasons outside of medicine. This is a mostly traditional procedure conducted by highly esteemed traditional circumcisers in the community. There is a false conception that the procedure is safer when carried out by health care providers, however, the World Health Organisation is strongly against the concept of female genital mutilation, whether conducted ‘safely’ or not.

There is almost a universal stance against female genital mutilation in the international community as it is viewed as intrinsically a human right violation. The procedure is entrenched and continues to perpetuate the inequality that exists between females and males. The procedure is often conducted on children that are not old enough to be giving consent legally, therefore, female genital mutilation does not only infringe on women’s right but on children’s rights as well. According to The World Health Organisation (2016) female genital mutilation violates rights such as “rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death”.

Female genital mutilation is most prevalent in African regions such as the west, the east, the north east, furthermore, other regions that are affected include the Middle East and Asia. It is important to note that the immigrants from these regions carry out female genital mutilation wherever they may be, thus making female genital mutilation a global issue. This issue affects mostly young girls that may even be as young as infants, sometimes women that are adults are affected as well. On average an estimate of 3 million females are at danger of female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is influenced by cultural and social factors such as it being a necessary part of the upbringing of a girl in preparation for marriage. The mutilation is said to be by which marriage fidelity can be preserved because it reduces the women’s libido and she will display appropriate sexual behaviour. It is also believed that after the mutilation girls will be regarded as clean and feminine, therefore increasing marriageability.

Since 1997 there have been international responses to stop female genital mutilation, some of them being laws to ban female genital mutilation. In 2016, The World Health Organization in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Population Fund launched a video based on research and evidence on how to manage the complications caused by female genital mutilation and even developed tools for healthcare workers to improve their knowledge and skills when it comes to genital mutilation.

This increases support in ending female genital because the health care sector is being strengthened in their abilities to provide medical and psychological treatment for girls surviving female genital mutilation.

By Lethica Nair

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Sex apparently has a sexual preference.

Sex apparently has a sexual preference and it definitely isn’t women of colour, or maybe it is but we would never know since the media is always portraying women of colour  not enjoying sex and if they are, they’re being “immoral” about it. In most cultures a woman’s sexuality and sex life is linked to her purity.

Women of colour are always portrayed not enjoying, resorting to prostitution for money, being victims of rape and sexual abuse or just being a spiritual, powerful woman with no interest for sex. It’s almost like sex is a distraction for women of colour who want to be successful. To state the obvious: The media just want to show our pain and epitomize our strength  but they will never really understand that our liberty is multifaceted and it’s more than just overcoming white supremacy and colonialism, its also overcoming our culture and the misogyny and patriarchy that we women and girls of colour face and sex is just one of the many sides. Here are some examples of the way media portrays women of colour enjoying sex.

In this movie, this women is not sexually satisfied her husband and so she finds alternative methods for her satisfaction, at first using masturbation and later on cheating on her husband and having sex with other men. The movies reasons her sexual drive as an addiction to sex because of the sexual assault that she experienced in her childhood.

The next movie causes even more controversy because it speaks to feminism in an Indian and Islamic context and the roles that guide the sexual pleasure of females. This movie caused a lot of controversy and there were many different opinions centered around it.  People did not think this movie could be called a “feminist film” because of it’s sexual content and the unhappy ending of the movie. I beg to differ, I find it exhausting how people are always separating women from sex, and no-one ever speaking about the sexual pleasure of women of colour. I think the unhappy ending is realistic in an Indian context.

Here a few reactions to the movie:

Indian sexuality is not discussed yet one of the most famous sanskrits written is the Kama Sutra that acknowledges sexual desire, because of western perception people do not understand that the text speaks to more than just creative sex positions but also about love and the root of desire; what sustains it and whether it is good or bad.

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There is one movie that stood out when speaking about women of colour and their ownership of their sexual desires and is the korean movie: The Handmaiden. It stood out because of its unpredictable nature and depicted the struggles of korean women during those times in a true manner.

To be absolutely honest it is no surprise that the sexuality of white women is more accepted, unsurprising and are shown in ways that truly depict desire because women can also just have sex for the desire of it. When the media shows the sexuality of women of colour it is shown in a much more exotic manner. We are exotic fruits hanging on the tree, that is the only way the media can describe the sexual nature of women of colour unless you speak about our fatherless children, our prostitutes, our rape cases and of course how strong we are because we don’t have sex.

Love comes in the morning

You heal through admitting what has hurt you and being vulnerable through that honesty.
-Some mornings I wake up to the memories gripping my eyelids open to find that you’re not here- I don’t know why bad days drag me back to you. Some days I try to fill myself with your love and I end up walking around like a silhouette of who I am. Some days I remember your hands and how for the longest time I believed hands were for feeling and not holding- I am too abundant for lust.
To think I’m still trying to pull you out of me, and they are days I’m too loyal to let go I end up spoon feeding myself with your love- those are the days I go to bed starving. I’ll admit sometimes I think you shoved your emptiness in me and that’s how you healed. I got on all fours for you and I called that stability. Somedays like last week Monday I wake up under all the words I’ve ever written to you- i wake up drowning in the love I tried to prove to you- my love is not my graveyard. I won’t kill myself to love someone. This Monday I woke up remembering I can call the words by name, and that I’m my own savior and that when love is heavy it is supposed to be an anchor not a burden. And that drowning is not romantic…
-Returning myself to myself .

Loving yourself through Adversities/ The Dock

The Dock.

Thursdays are always tough days. I was just leaving the dock and I felt all the oceans within me swell. It’s a confusing feeling you know, when your eyes are teary and you have to cross a road and the sun is blazing and people are walking by so you tense up and walk as swiftly as possible praying that no-one stops you to ask if you’re okay, or to hug you or make a joke that you’d have to drag a laugh over everything that’s not funny. Sometimes it gives me anxiety that in the middle of me laughing I might just cry- I’d rather not. When I am like this I don’t like being around people, it’s hard being on the edge fighting to pull yourself back up and when people approach with sharp optimistic edges they might push you over. Sometimes sadness can be so violent- sometimes being sad makes me violent. I’d rather not.
The more I thought about it, the more difficult it became to hold everything back. I put my tongue in between my teeth, like a wall. Trying to push back that lump, the swelling, everything. Someone greeted me but I could not speak cause my tongue was being a wall for my emotions. Sadness can be so silencing sometimes, so isolating, and so self inflicting. Any way I got to my room and drank some water- It’s fascinating, how dehydrating it is to be sad- how demanding sadness is and wants to be watered or maybe that’s my body- asking me to replenish it with something other than the saltiness forming in my throat.

I started undoing the bricks around my tongue so I can try again to learn the language of a good day.