Reprod Health. 2017 Feb 10;14(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0287-4.
Virility, pleasure and female genital mutilation/cutting. A qualitative study of perceptions and experiences of medicalized defibulation among Somali and Sudanese migrants in Norway.
BACKGROUND: The most pervasive form of female genital mutilation/cutting-infibulation-involves the almost complete closure of the vaginal orifice by cutting and closing the labia to create a skin seal. A small opening remains for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. This physical closure has to be re-opened-defibulated-later in life. When they marry, a partial opening is made to enable sexual intercourse. The husband commonly uses his penis to create this opening. In some settings, a circumciser or traditional midwife opens the infibulated scar with a knife or razor blade. Later, during childbirth, a further opening is necessary to make room for the child’s passage. In Norway, public health services provide surgical defibulation, which is less risky and painful than traditional forms of defibulation. This paper explores the perceptions and experiences of surgical defibulation among migrants in Norway and investigates whether surgical defibulation is an accepted medicalization of a traditional procedure or instead challenges the cultural underpinnings of infibulation. METHODS: Data derived from in-depth interviews with 36 women and men of Somali and Sudanese origin and with 30 service providers, as well as participant observations in various settings from 2014-15, were thematically analyzed. RESULTS: The study findings indicate that, despite negative attitudes towards infibulation, its cultural meaning in relation to virility and sexual pleasure constitutes a barrier to the acceptance of medicalized defibulation. CONCLUSIONS: As sexual concerns regarding virility and male sexual pleasure constitute a barrier to the uptake of medicalized defibulation, health care providers need to address sexual concerns when discussing treatment for complications in infibulated women. Furthermore, campaigns and counselling against this practice also need to tackle these sexual concerns.
Knowledge and attitudes toward female genital cutting among West African male immigrants in New York City.
Akinsulure-Smith AM, Chu T.
In this project, we explored knowledge and attitudes toward female genital cutting (FGC) in a survey of 107 West African immigrants, including 36 men. Men in this study were as knowledgeable about the health consequences of FGC as women, though with a less nuanced understanding. They also rejected the practice at rates comparable to women. Despite this knowledge and rejection of FGC, most men did not express a personal preference for women with or without FGC in intimate relationships. Future research and interventions must explore men’s opposition to FGC and emphasize the impact of FGC on their partners’ gynecological and reproductive health.
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):725-30. Epub 2011 Aug 12.
Cosmetic clitoridectomy in a 33-year-old woman.
Veale D, Daniels J.
NIHR Specialist Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, 99 Denmark Hill, London, SE5 8AZ, UK. David.Veale@kcl.ac.uk
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):735-6.
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):731-4.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) in England allows for mental health exceptions for cosmetic surgery resulting from perceived abnormality. Similar legislation exists in other countries. There are no reported cases of clitoridectomy for cosmetic reasons or any discussion in the literature of mental health exceptions to the Act. This is a single case report on a 33-year-old married, heterosexual woman who had already had a cosmetic labiaplasty and was seeking a clitoridectomy for aesthetic reasons. At assessment, there were no psychiatric contra-indications or unrealistic expectations and the patient proceeded with a clitoridectomy. At 9 and 22 months follow-up, she was reassessed and was very pleased with the outcome. There were improvements in the satisfaction with her genital appearance, sexual satisfaction, and quality of life related to body image. Assessments for cosmetic clitoridectomy will continue to be rare, but this case may provide some guidance for practitioners who are confronted with such requests for body modification. However there remains only limited understanding of the motivation for such a request.
Assessing the burden of sexual and reproductive ill-health: questions regarding the use of disability-adjusted life years
C. AbouZahrI; J.P. VaughanII
IFormerly Technical Officer, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva IIProfessor of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England
The use of the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) as the unit in which to calculate the burden of disease associated with reproductive ill-health has given rise to considerable debate. Criticisms include the failure to address the problem of missing and inadequate epidemiological data, inability to deal adequately with co-morbidities, and lack of transparency in the process of ascribing disability weights to sexual and reproductive health conditions. Many of these criticisms could be addressed within the current DALY framework and a number of suggestions to do so are made. These suggestions include: (1) developing an international research strategy to determine the incidence and prevalence of reproductive ill-health and diseases, including the risk of long-term complications; (2) undertaking a research strategy using case studies, population-based surveillance data and longitudinal studies to identify, evaluate and utilize more of the existing national data sources on sexual and reproductive health; (3) comprehensively mapping the natural history of sexual and reproductive health conditions — in males and in females — and their sequelae, whether physical or psychological; (4) developing valuation instruments that are adaptable for both chronic and acute health states, that reflect a range of severity for each health state and can be modified to reflect prognosis; (5) undertaking a full review of the DALY methodology to determine what changes may be made to reduce sources of methodological and gender bias. Despite the many criticisms of the DALY as a measurement unit, it represents a major conceptual advance since it permits the combination of life expectancy and levels of dysfunction into a single measure. Measuring reproductive ill-health by counting deaths alone is inadequate for a proper understanding of the dimensions of the problem because of the young age of many of the deaths associated with reproductive ill-health and the large component of years lived with disability from many of the associated conditions.