FGM – Do Not Take Away My Identity

FGM – Do Not Take Away My Identity
FGM: Female Genital Mutilation.
Words and facts on how FGM started are not clear, but it is assumed that this common inhuman practice could have been started in Australia, Africa and in Egypt.

Although in Ancient Egypt there is no physical evidence in mummies, art or literature, the first mention of male and female circumcision appears in the writings by the Greek  geographer Starbo, who visited Egypt around 25 B.C, stated “one of the customs most zealously observed among the Egyptians is this; that they rear every child that is born, and circumcise the males, and excise the females.”

Some theories on why it started state that, as for Egyptians the clitoris was better removed as it was “seen as “a deformity and a source of shame,” the clitoris would produce irritation for its “continual rubbing against the clothes” thus “stimulating the appetite for sexual intercourse”.” Quoting Rossella Lorenzi from her article “How Did Female Genital Mutilation Begin?”

And as in England and the United States, the cutting would be practiced to treat various psychological symptom, “The surgeries seen in Victorian England and America were generally based on a now discarded theory called ‘reflex neurosis,’ held that many disorders like depression and neurasthenia originated in genital inflammation,” medical historian David Gollaher, president and CEO of the California Healthcare Institute (CHI), said in an interview with Discovery News.

So we all agree now that there is no religious concept behind this, and it is definitely not an Arab thing, regardless of the origins of FGM, which could be ritual or cultural, this vile practice have spread internationally forgetting why it really started in the first place.
Do Not Take Away My Identity
  •           “I was pinned onto the table by four women. They said “it’s not going to be painful, silly girl”. Apparently they gave me an injection to numb it, but I felt everything, I felt my flesh being cut off. After you’re cut you’re given presents, chocolates, sweets – me and my sister actually got gold watches. You’re abused, but you’re rewarded for it. It leaves you with a massive sense of confusion about people you trust. Years later when I was training to be a therapist I confronted my mother. She had believed it was the right thing to do at the time, but she also protected me. She told everyone that I had gone through Type 3 (the most severe form) rather than Type 2. By having this conversation and receiving her apology, I was freed from this confusion. I knew that I would never let my daughter go through this ordeal.  FGM is a form of identity. Women in my community worry that they won’t be considered a good Somali woman if they haven’t undergone FGM.  But let’s be clear: this is a practice that controls women’s sexuality, and it continues today because we still live in an environment where women are restricted.” – BY Leyla Hussein, an anti-FGM activist, psychotherapist, ‘Strong Voice’ of Amnesty International’s END FGM European Campaign and co-founder of Daughters of Eve, a charity dedicated to ending gender-based violence including female genital mutilation. 

Kindly note that this has been copied exactly the same as I will not be able to describe their experience better than how they did.
  •           Sohair al-Bata’a, a 13-year-old Egyptian girl, who was subjected to female genital mutilation. She could not share her story with us as she died in this inhuman, oppressive cultural, ignorant and brutal act. FGM was banned in Egypt in 2008 but still some doctors would do it in private. Dr. Raslan Fadl was one of these doctors, and Sohair was one of his victims of FGM operation carried out at the parents’ request in June 2013. Dr. Fadl got away with this inhuman act when the case was initially dropped after an official medical report claimed that Sohair had been treated for genital warts, and that she died from an allergic reaction to penicillin. But now the case is reopened after the campaigns by local rights groups and the international organization Equality Now. There will be a prosecution of both Fadl and Sohair’s father.

And I, as an Arab woman, proud to say that Egypt has launched the first prosecution for female genital mutilation after a girl has died, Sohair. People now are more aware of the dangers of FGM, as many campaigns have been launched to prevent this inhuman oppressive practice, to heal the damaged – not that it can be healed-, and to raise awareness.
This is an outrageous act which deprives girls and women of their simplest human rights; pleasure and sexual identity. And it definitely does not give them the right to OWN their bodies, so let’s all be part of the change, let’s all make a difference by talking about this courageously, and by spreading and sharing the real stories of victims. Share their stories as they tell it, no one would describe it better. Share their stories to save the coming generations, and to let everyone know the physical and psychological incurable damage this inhuman act causes.
Published in BROAD Feminist and Social Justice Magazine / Chicago – March 2014, Pages 32-33

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