Bioethics. 2012 Oct;26(8):ii-iii. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2012.02010.x.
Europe debates circumcision…and what about the child’s best interest?
No abstract is available for this article.
Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice. 2003 15(4): 471-477
Problems with Criminalizing Female Genital Cutting
Female genital cutting (FGC) has become the most well-publicized and frequently debated issue affecting the lives of African women. Western feminists brought the issue to the forefront during the United Nations Women’s Decade of 1975–1985. Since then, several conferences and international plans of action have sought to eliminate this practice. At the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of female genital mutilation.” In their joint statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) Children’s and Population Funds refer to these practices as “female genital mutilation.” They define this term to mean “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reason.” The WHO/UN statement says the cutting predominantly occurs in 28 African countries, but is also performed in Asia and among immigrant groups in Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. They classify genital cutting into four types. Type I is defined as the excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of part of the clitoris. Type II is the excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora. Type III includes the excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation). And Type IV is unclassified and includes pricking, piercing, stretching, burning, scraping and any other procedure that falls under the de.nition of female genital mutilation given above.
Violated: Women’s Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa
By Kathryn Birdwell Wester
EXTRACT: In contemporary sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), women are facing human rights abuses unparalleled elsewhere in the world. Despite the region’s diversity, its female inhabitants largely share experiences of sexual discrimination and abuse, intimate violence, political marginalization, and economic deprivation. Consider the following…
The right to culture and the culture of rights: a critical perspective on women’s sexual rights in Africa
NO ABSTRACT AVAILABLE FOR THIS PAPER
Cornell Law Review. 2010, Vol. 95:599-626
Invisible and involuntary: female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum.
Zsaleh E. Harivandi
Female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice of cutting or otherwise damaging the genitalia of young women and girls, is a cultural tradition in some third-world countries. Although the practice is widespread in parts of the world, many women and girls participate unwillingly. After all, FGM has severe short- and long-term health consequences both for the women who undergo it and for their future children. Despite the severity of the harm caused by FGM, however, many women who arrive in the United States seeking asylum on the basis of FGM have difficulty establishing that they are, in fact, refugees.
Article first published online: 8 NOV 2012. DOI: 10.1002/hast.86. Nov-Dec 2012 42(6):3
Culture and Cutting
The two provocative essays in this issue of the Hastings Center Report should stimulate debate not only about female genital cutting, fetal dexamethasone, and clitoral reduction surgery, but also about our fierce commitment to particular cultural norms about the body. Under what conditions may adults irreversibly modify a child’s body because they think the change is in her best interest? Certainly, parents who opt for female genital cutting or for surgical reduction of an enlarged clitoris in a girl with congenital adrenal hyperplasia want to make choices that will contribute to their child’s potential happiness. If cutting in Africa—or mitigating CAH symptoms here—upholds a girl’s gender identity, which will translate into a fulfilled life as an adult, some argue that a parent’s refusal to abide by social prescriptions does the child a serious disservice
J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Jul;40(1):149-54.
Giving refuge: reflections on working with asylum seekers.
Department of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20037, USA. email@example.com
Ten years ago, a psychiatrist colleague asked me to see Annie, a young Cameroonian woman who was seeking asylum in the United States, because a medical examination would be helpful to support the applicant’s case. Annie was not easy to interview. She spoke in a whisper, made little eye contact, and sat in an attitude of fear, with her shoulders hunched and knees drawn in. When she was 20 years old, she was arrested and abused in prison, and the story she told me was chilling: For two weeks, she suffered daily beatings, food deprivation, and multiple sexual assaults before a sympathetic soldier helped her to escape. The soldier told her that if she were rearrested, she would be killed…
Explore (NY). 2010 Jul-Aug;6(4):220.
Statement on female genital mutilation from the staff of Explore.
Dossey L, Kligler B, Radin D, Sierpina V, Fenton M, Horrigan B, Schwartz SA.
…. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the World Health Organization. Sometimes called female circumcision, FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter, injure, or partially or totally remove the external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons. These procedures include but are not limited to clitorectomy, partial or total excision of the labia, and infibulation. They are usually carried out on girls between infancy and age 15 years. They confer no health benefits but can cause severe bleeding, infection, death, anxiety, fear, pain, urinary problems, and later, childbirth complications. Although FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, it persists widely in many African, Middle Eastern, and Asian…
Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2004 Dec; 16(6):477-480
Female genital mutilation
Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide an up to date account of recent papers and attitude on female genital mutilation in the past year. It is aimed at all professionals caring and supporting women/girls with female genital mutilation, and to identify gaps.
Recent findings: Given the multidisciplinary complexity of the practice of female genital mutilation, it is surprising how little empirical research (both quantitative and qualitative) exists. There is a paucity of rigorous research into its prevalence, its health consequences for those girls/women experiencing the practice, the understanding of professionals who have to address the issue, the implementation of existing legislation and the impact of programme interventions intended to change people’s attitudes to, and the practice of, female genital mutilation. The overwhelming majority of literature focuses on the same topics, often drawing upon the same less-than-rigorous research data.
Summary: Worldwide, there are approximately 13 million refugees and asylum seekers and human rights violations are seen as contributing factors to people fleeing their homeland. In the United States, those seeking asylum or refugee status are asked about their life experiences. African women are asked about ritual genital surgery, as it may be an indicator of their gynaecological, obstetric and sexual health. Health and social care professionals in host countries, in Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK, for example, are increasingly encountering this vulnerable client group in their practice and are finding that they are ill-prepared to deal with presenting complex health needs and challenges.