The Real Mutilation

(WARNING: This is a post with a sensitive issue.)

Watching the news one night on BBC made me and my daughter squirm in horror. The boob tube showed a little six-year-old girl being tied and restrained by several adult women. She was horrifyingly crying while the adult females were casually grinning in front of the camera. The girl was about to undergo the ritual of female circumcision and the news tells that more than 100 million in the world underwent or is undergoing such brutal practices.

Photo from here.

It made me remember an article from a 1999 Reader’s Digest issue (Desert Flower) which is about a supermodel whose name is Waris Dirie and her ordeal with female genitalia mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision when she was but a child.

Waris, from Somalia, was one of those little girls during her time who had to be mutilated because of a horrible belief that there is something bad in between a girl or a woman’s legs. At five, she was made to sit on a rock, excited about the time because of the lie her parents told her, made to bite only a root, with her mother straddling her body, and her arms around her mother’s thighs. She was sliced by a gypsy woman with a razor blade (still with dried blood on its jagged edge when she first saw it; and was made clean by the gypsy woman by spitting on it and wiping it on her dress). The little girl, needless to say, lost consciousness only to find when she came back to her senses that she is being sewed up with the aid of acacia thorns which were used to poke holes in her flesh. A miniscule hole was left for urination and menstruation. She fainted again of the indescribable pain from the whole process.

What a way to protect the little children. People say that male circumcision is mutilation but female circumcision is more excessively inhumane and a very true picture of mutilation. Of course, we have to respect each other’s culture but the brutal practice for me, that involves little innocent girls, is clear violation of human rights.

Are those people from Africa (those who practice this act) really think that the following is not brutal?

Distinct Surgeries Made during Female Circumcision *

  • Clitoridectomy – removes all or part of the clitoris and the hood, or prepuce, which covers it. Sometimes called sunna circumcision.
  • Excision – includes clitoridectomy but also removes some or all of the labia minora; all or part of the labia majora might also be cut.
  • Infibulation – After removing the labia, the sides of the vulva are joined so that scar tissue forms over the vaginal opening, leaving a small gap for urination and menstruation.
  • Mild Sunna – this involves a symbolic pricking or slight nicking of the clitoris or prepuce.

Waris was able to do something for herself and rallied against the practice. She is happily married now after undergoing an operation for the restoration of her genitalia. I am happy for her but it is a sad fact that millions at present are victims still of this brutality.

*Female Circumcision in Africa, Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2004


20 thoughts on “The Real Mutilation

  1. I do not agree with such a practice. My mother told me about Waris too and from there I realized some tribes are still practicing such a cruel act.

    It is not the correct way to protect innocent little girls but I think this will only kill them if those wounds are not treated properly.

    Gee …


  2. I’ve heard about this in the news most recently, perhaps Great Britain or America finally declaring in very clear manner how they are against female circumcision and that the african nations involved should do something about it soon or face some form of sanctioning.

    I hope this will lead to a complete solution.


  3. This was reported on CNN just recently. It was horrifying to see a clip of a very young African girl undergoing female circumcision.

    Of course, we ‘ve heard about these brutal practices before. But it’s really something to actually see the process on film.

    I got ‘traumatized’ vicariously after watching the CNN report.


  4. horrible. absolutely horrible. i maintain that traditions and practices should be preserved only if they are not maladaptive. this one clearly scars women emotionally and physically. however, as what a contemporary philosopher said, in matters of culture, we have no right to intervene unless they ask us too. the willingness to change has to come from those belonging to that culture. all we can do is expose them to other “views” so they would realize how inhumane this practice is.

    in the same light, maybe we should look into male circumcision also. studies have shown that it does not have any medical use. as long as a man regularly cleans his genitalia, an uncircumcized penis is fine. besides, circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the head, thus reduces the sexual pleasure during intercourse. foreskin is there for a reason.

    as far as i know, we only started this practice because of the pact of Abraham with God in the old testament. As a show of commitment, he agreed to have all males from his line to be circumcized. it’s time we stopped this equally horrible practice.


  5. Very barbaric. There should be an end to this practice.

    I wonder if Waris is also the supermodel Iman (the one married to David Bowie)? or is it another person?


  6. i agree that it is not the way to protect little girls, kyels. but i have this to say, too, that it is their culure. heard that people from the tribes are not the only ones who do the practice. there are some in Sweden and some parts of Britain that are doing it. dont know if it is practiced in Asia.

    it was on BBC naman where we saw it, jayred. we felt the same. Kay was really horrified.

    hi, slim whale. interesting notions you have. but actually one of the reasons i posted about FGM is for readers to see the difference between male circumcision and FGM. in male circumcision, one has the option to choose to or not to undergo the process. in FGM, little girls are forced without their consent. in male circumcision, too, the process is not as barbaric as it is in FGM.

    you might want to read some comments in the post ‘What Age Do Boys Need to be Circumcised?, slim. i learned a lot from the experiences of those who are in favor of or against it.

    it is brutal to me, mon. it is ignorance of the consequences that makes them cling to the practice. a lot had died because of complications. Waris nearly died.

    hi, gina! sorry i wasnt able to tell you outright that it was not Waris you’re referring to. Waris had become active in informing the public about this. that article from Reader’s Digest is very nice. it spoke about her life in Somalia and the effects that FGM had brought her. she is a strong woman. the time she was featured she already have an angelic baby. i dont know kung nadagdagan na ang anak niya. she’s married to Dana Murray if i am not mistaken.


  7. I’ve read about the practice of female circumcision in Africa as far back as twenty years ago. Back then, concerned groups (doctors mostly) were already trying to stop the practice but it seems that they weren’t as successful as they had hoped, it still continues up to this day…


  8. if you’d seen it, verns, you’ll wonder how one of the women who were restraining the little girl can grin at the camera. 😦

    brace yourself, khonz.

    it had grown to 100 million plus already, single.


  9. its baffling sometimes how one part of the world is so liberal and advanced while some parts are still living in the stone age. similar story i read was about the practice of giving birth where the pregnant woman is suspended to a tree, wiv legs and arms tied. gravity plays the role of the midwife.. meaning ayun, inaantay na lang na mahulog yung baby. crazy. tsk tsk.


  10. “Brutal practices and mutilation,” you say? “Clear violation of human rights?” Then earlier you say how beneficial male circumcision is. Talk about double talk. So it’s OK to do it to males and not females? Removing any part of a childs body that is not medically necessary is definitely violating their rights. It should be the right of the adult to remove any part of their body, not left up to an uninformed parent. Everybody in here is all “poor little girls.” What about the poor little boys who had no choice either.


  11. it’s not double talk, jay. i am not explaining anymore because i had said my piece about the whole issue, it’s written in my post and my comments and i am not repeating it. maybe i will if there is no such tone like antagonizing me.

    you see, i respect your and some others view about going against the practice. but i have my beliefs, too, and i think it’s not necessary to ask you to respect it because obviously you don’t.


  12. Male circumcision = “medically necessary, beneficial and must be done”
    Female circumcision = “brutal mutilation, excessively inhumane”

    Quoted from your posts. Is that about right?

    I just see it as the decision should be made by the informed child that’s OK with the procedure being done to him, such as your son or by the adult owner of the penis in question. Some young girls also are OK with being circumsized I hear. Either practice can be considered barbaric. Just like piercing the penis or clitoris, if the owner of the parts wants it done then so be it. On the other hand some people like me are in a battle to not get it done to their son and feel like the decision should lie in the hands of the penis’s owner.


  13. It’s all lie!!! Just only photo… Lie femenist!!! I’m look for girl who have circumcision! But but I can’t to find… Sho me by the one!


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