Int J Womens Health. 2013 Apr 15;5:165-75. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S40447. Print 2013.
Meaning-making of female genital cutting: children’s perception and acquired knowledge of the ritual.
Schultz JH, Lien IL.
Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway.
How do girls who have undergone female genital cutting understand the ritual? This study provides an analysis of the learning process and knowledge acquired in their meaning-making process. Eighteen participants were interviewed in qualitative indepth interviews. Women in Norway, mostly with Somali or Gambian backgrounds, were asked about their experiences of circumcision. Two different strategies were used to prepare girls for circumcision, ie, one involving giving some information and the other keeping the ritual a secret. Findings indicate that these two approaches affected the girls’ meaning-making differently, but both strategies seemed to lead to the same educational outcome. The learning process is carefully monitored and regulated but is brought to a halt, stopping short of critical reflexive thinking. The knowledge tends to be deeply internalized, embodied, and morally embraced. The meaning-making process is discussed by analyzing the use of metaphors and narratives. Given that the educational outcome is characterized by limited knowledge without critical reflection, behavior change programs to end female genital cutting should identify and implement educational stimuli that are likely to promote critical reflexive thinking.
BMC Public Health. 2012 Aug 27;12(1):697. [Epub ahead of print]
When female circumcision comes to the West: Attitudes toward the practice among Somali Immigrants in Oslo.
Gele AA Gele Aa, Johansen EB Johansen Eb, Huage MI Hauge Mi, Sundby J Sundby J.
BACKGROUND: Female circumcision (FC) has lifelong adverse social and health consequences for women, and its abolition will not only enhance the health of children and women, but also promote gender equality. Like many other Western countries, Norway hosts a large proportion of immigrants from FC-practicing countries, though primarily from Somalia, which is the country with the highest prevalence of FC in the world. A behavioral change by the practicing communities has the best chance to successfully and sustainably eliminate this practice. However, FC prevention programs require a behavioral surveillance that monitors the process of change, with this being the first quantitative study since the major migration of the Somali community to Norway began in 1991 to investigate whether or not Somali immigrants’ attitudes toward the practice has improved in favor of its abandonment.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study using a respondent-driven sampling (RDS) was conducted in Oslo from April to June of 2011. A sample of 214 persons was interviewed, using structured questionnaires.
RESULTS: The results show that 70% of Somalis in Oslo support the discontinuation of all forms of FC compared to 30% who support its continuation, with the latter group more likely to be people who lived in Norway [LESS-THAN OR EQUAL TO] 4 years. Of the 10 girls who came to Norway at the age of [LESS-THAN OR EQUAL TO] 7 years, only one was circumcised, though whether the circumcision occurred before or after the girl’s arrival in Norway remains unclear. The perception that FC is required by religion was the sole factor to be significantly associated with an ongoing support of FC.
CONCLUSION: The study reveals that Somalis in Oslo demonstrate a trend to abandon this practice over time. Nevertheless, the 30% of the people who still support its continuation, and who are primarily newly arrived immigrants, require a targeted intervention that is implemented in the early phase of the immigrants’ arrival.
Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2007 Sep 20;127(18):2402-4.
[Is genital examination of preschool girls offensive?]. [Article in Norwegian]
Gulla K, Myhre AK, Bratlid D
Barne- og ungdomsklinikken, St. Olavs Hospital, 7006 Trondheim. firstname.lastname@example.org
Diskusjonen omkring rutineundersøkelse av barns underliv er ikke av ny dato. Blant annet gikk den høyt i 1990-årene, den gang i kjølvannet av flere store overgrepssaker. Debatten har nå fått ny aktualitet – denne gang på grunn av en gryende bevissthet om at også jenter bosatt i Norge utsettes for kjønnslemlestelse. Etter vår mening er tiden nå moden for å vurdere saken i hele sin bredde, både ut fra de mange og dels nye utfordringer innen barnehelse og ikke minst i lys av ny kunnskap på området…
Oslo: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (NOKC). Report from NOKC nr 25 – 2009. 2009
Effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting
Denison E, Berg RC, Lewin S, Fretheim A
Oslo: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services (NOKC). Report from NOKC nr 23 – 2010. 2010
Factors promoting and hindering the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
Berg RC, Denison E, Fretheim A
Report from Kunnskapssenteret nr 13−2010. Oslo: Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for helsetjenesten, 2010.
Psychological, social and sexual consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C): a systematic review of quantitative studies
Berg RC, Denison E, Fretheim A
Med Anthropol Q. 2006 Dec; 20 (4): 516-544
Care for Infibulated Women Giving Birth in Norway: An Anthropological Analysis of Health Workers’ Management of a Medically and Culturally Unfamiliar Issue
Elise R, Johansen B
The focus of this article is on Norwegian health care workers’ experience and management of birth care of women who have undergone infibulation. Because infibulation is the most extensive form of female genital cutting, infibulated women experience a higher risk of birth complications, and health workers generally experience delivery care for this group as challenging. Infibulated women, who come from recently arrived immigrant groups, are a challenge to the predominant Norwegian birth philosophy of “natural childbirth” and the positive evaluation of everything considered natural. The challenges relate to a mixture of technical know-how and a complex set of interpretations of central cultural elements of gender, nature, health, and gender equity. The findings suggest that a combination of taboo, silence, limited knowledge, and emotional difficulty along with a wish to be culture sensitive may at times prove counterproductive to giving the best help. Health care workers often seem to impose “imagined” cultural values on infibulated women, rather than clarifying them through personal communication.
This article can be purchased in this LINK.
Med Anthropol Q. 2002 Sept; 16 (3): 312-340
Pain as a Counterpoint to Culture: Toward an Analysis of Pain Associated with Infibulation among Somali Immigrants in Norway
Elise R, Johansen B
This article focuses on how some Somali women experience and reflect on the pain of infibulation as a lived bodily experience within shifting social and cultural frameworks. Women interviewed for this study describe such pain as intolerable, as an experience that has made them question the cultural values in which the operation is embedded. Whereas this view has gone largely unvoiced in their natal communities, the Norwegian exile situation in which the present study’s informants live has brought about dramatic changes. In Norway, where female circumcision is both condemned and illegal, most of the women have come to reconsider the practice – not merely as a theoretical topic or as a “cultural tradition ” to be maintained or abolished but, rather, as part of their embodied and lived experience, [female circumcision, infibulation, pain, exile, Somali immigrants]
This article can be purchased in this LINK.
Int J Womens Health. 2012;4:7-17. Epub 2012 Jan 20.
Attitudes toward female circumcision among Somali immigrants in Oslo: a qualitative study
Gele AA, Kumar B, Hjelde KH, Sundby J
Due to its negative impact on public health, female circumcision (FC) has gained increased attention from international communities and the Norwegian public in recent decades. In 1995, the Norwegian government outlawed the practice and simultaneously developed a package of measures aimed at preventing and ultimately eradicating FC in Norway. Like many other Western countries, immigrants of Somali descent constitute the largest immigrant group in Norway from countries with FC traditions. Although this immigrant group is often perceived as a cultural society that supports FC generally as a practice, there appears to be a lack of studies that explore the impact of acculturation and the Western social context on Somali immigrants’ attitudes toward the practice. Against this background, this paper explores the attitudes of Somalis living in Oslo, Norway to the practice of FC. Findings from this qualitative study indicate that Somalis in Oslo have, to a large extent, changed their attitude toward the practice. This was proven by the presence in Oslo of a large number of Somali parents who left their daughters uncut as well as Somali girls, boys, men, and women who attribute being uncircumcised a high status. This study adds to the knowledge of the process of abandonment of FC among immigrants in the Western countries. The study highlights the success that has been achieved in improving attitudes toward the practice of the Somali community in Oslo, Norway, as well as emerging challenges that need to be addressed further.