An August 1993 report in the British Medical Journal (abstracted here) on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) stated plainly, in its summary conclusions:
Female genital mutilation, also misleadingly known as female circumcision, is usually performed on girls ranging in from 1 week to puberty. Immediate physical complications include severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death. Long-term problems include chronic pain, difficulties with micturition [urination] and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth.
Not surprisingly, FGM is outlawed in the United States and most Western countries, and there are concerted efforts to eradicate this barbaric practice, globally.
But just today, the barbarism of FGM is indeed referred to “misleadingly” as “circumcision” in a quintessential culturally (or if you prefer, clitorally) relative depiction by Sara Corbett published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (1/20/08). Ms. Corbett’s ~ 1000 word essay even omits any discussion of the basic acute (“severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death”)and chronic (“chronic pain, difficulties with micturition and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth”) medical complications, described in the 1993 British Medical Journal report.
Pace Corbett, in tolerant Islamic Indonesia, its progressive Muslim women denizens take their pre-adolescent daughters (infants, toddlers, young girls) to “free circumcision events,” apparently in droves, as “96 percent of families surveyed reported that their daughters had undergone some form of circumcision by the time they reached 14.” Here is Corbett’s nauseatingly reverent account (salvaged only by the accompanying narrative’s photos–like the one above–which capture the actual horror experienced by the victimized young girls):
When a girl is taken — usually by her mother — to a free circumcision event held each spring in Bandung, Indonesia, she is handed over to a small group of women who, swiftly and yet with apparent affection, cut off a small piece of her genitals. Sponsored by the Assalaam Foundation, an Islamic educational and social-services organization, circumcisions take place in a prayer center or an emptied-out elementary-school classroom where desks are pushed together and covered with sheets and a pillow to serve as makeshift beds. The procedure takes several minutes. There is little blood involved. Afterward, the girl’s genital area is swabbed with the antiseptic Betadine. She is then helped back into her underwear and returned to a waiting area, where she’s given a small, celebratory gift — some fruit or a donated piece of clothing — and offered a cup of milk for refreshment.
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