Female circumcision/female genital mutilation is performed differently depending on the region. Sometimes it includes removal of the entire clitoris, sometimes it is the removal of the tip of the clitoris, and in the most extreme form, it is the removal of the entire clitoris and the labia minora and majora, with the rest of the flesh sewn shut (sometimes a small hole is left for urine and menses to pass through, but sometimes that hole isn't left, which obviously creates huge problems). Anesthesia is usually not used, and the women, often small children but sometimes teens as well, are held down forcibly. Infection is common, and even death resulting from infection or blood loss. Oh, and for the women whose "circumcision" includes having the genitals sewn shut? On the night of the wedding, the husband will cut open that sewn-over flesh, and often sew them back closed afterward to ensure marital fidelity. There's also another type discussed in this article.
FGM or "circumcision" is performed usually for religious reasons but also to ensure that a woman is a "virgin" on her wedding night. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa where rape is widespread, it is also seen as a deterrent against rape (it's really not, just makes instances of rape even more violent). So in short, it's done for purely sexist reasons, to make sure women are "undamaged goods" when sold off for marriage. Keep in mind that this also makes sex anything but enjoyable for women since the clitoris is what provides most of the pleasurable sensations for women during sex, not to mention having your body cut open is obviously going to be incredibly painful.
If you want to read a first-hand account, my suggestion would be Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, though there are a lot of other great books out there, too, and this website contains some powerful first-hand accounts as well as ways that you can help stop FGM. It's tough to read these first-hand accounts, but I also feel it's important to do so in order to understand the full impact of this bloody practice and the pain and suffering these women have to endure. As that article on the main site says, you can sign the petition at Amnesty International to help end FGM.
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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