Monday, March 16, 2009

Female Circumcision in Britain

Three stories regarding the practice of female circumcision - or female genital mutilation - from the Times Online:
"The NHS is to advertise free operations to reverse female circumcisions, with experts warning that each year more than 500 British girls have their genitals mutilated.

Despite having been outlawed in 1985, female circumcision is still practised in British African communities, in some cases on girls as young as 5. Police have been unable to bring a single prosecution even though they suspect that community elders are being flown from the Horn of Africa to carry out the procedures.

Female circumcision, which is done for various reasons, such as religious and cultural traditions, can cause severe health complications including infections and psychological problems. The procedure, predominantly carried out on girls aged between 5 and 12, can range from the removal of the clitoris to the removal of all the exterior parts of the vagina, which is then sewn up."

Case Study - the Husband
"It took a death threat to stop Abdi’s wife from circumcising their two daughters, aged 2 and 4. She called him from Somalia while on holiday to say she wanted to carry out the procedure."

Case Study - the Daughter
"Both she and her sister, then 10, had been taken there by their mother for a “holiday”. “When that happened to me, I immediately lost all trust in my mother and I think that hasn’t changed to this day,” Zarah said. “In fact, I’ve lost trust in both my parents because my father was also aware of what was going to happen to us.” Zarah said that the psychological scars were worse than the pain. She has nightmares, and relationships have been ruined by her fear of intimacy. "

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