Thursday, February 17, 2005

it's a sick, sick world

reading this article on female genital mutilation made me physically sick. [via]
  • "millions of women worldwide are living with the traumatic effects of genital mutilation. now, thanks to the determination of one french surgeon, a pioneering operation offers them the chance of normal lives."

    "dr foldes ... performs the operations in addition to his full-time hospital work. he refuses to charge for the surgery because he considers his patients to be victims of one of the biggest crimes against humanity. "victims shouldn't pay for the crimes against them. these women have already paid a huge price," he says. "it is like a violent rape which has involved family members."

    "fatoumata ... was the same age as her eldest daughter (6) when her mother and grandmother took her to local clinic where a medically trained midwife excised her clitoris, labia majora, and labia minora with the use of a local analgesic. what was left of the outer skin was then sewn together, leaving a pinhole opening."

    "i can't remember much about it. it was just an explosion of pain," fatoumata says. "the onset of menstruation was terrible. i had terrible stomach cramps because the blood couldn't flow as normal." when she married at 18, it was more than a year before she managed to have sex with her husband. "some women have to go with their husbands to midwives to get help. my husband was very patient and loving but intercourse for me was about pain not pleasure. other couples use little knives to make the opening a bit bigger each time but we couldn't stand the idea of that."

    "in the meantime, fatoumata cannot find words to express her gratitude. "yes, i was in pain after the operation, and yes, it reminded me of that dreadful time, but i feel so happy now. i can be with my husband like all women are with their men. i feel things i never felt before, and i am not in pain. i am feeling like a real woman."
right now i (once again) realise how incredibly lucky i have been to be born in a country like finland.

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