U.N. Survey: 3 Out of 4 Men and over Half of Women in Egypt Support FGM

Photo/Amr Nabil

Breitbart, by John Hayward, May 3, 2017:

A new United Nations surveyof male attitudes toward “gender equality” finds precious little appetite for it across the Middle East.

“Male attitudes towards the role of women in the workplace and at home, and of their participation in public life, were stereotypically sexist in the study of views in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine,” writes the UK Guardian in summarizing the report.

Egypt scored the lowest on the report’s “Gender Equitable Men” scale and is the source of the most striking headlines. For example, CNS News reports that “70 percent of Egyptian men approve of female genital mutilation.” For that matter, 56 percent of Egyptian women also voiced approval for the hideous procedure, which is illegal but not unheard-of, in much of the world.

Egyptian men also supplied 90 percent agreement with the statement that “a man should have the final word about decisions in the home,” and 58.5 percent of Egyptian women agreed. Only 31 percent of Egyptian men thought married women have the same rights to work outside their homes as men. 93 percent of men thought a husband should “know where his wife is at all times.” 96 percent thought a wife should agree to sex whenever her husband desires it.

53.4 percent said “there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.” 90 percent agreed that “a woman should tolerate violence to keep the family together.” Roughly 45 percent of Egyptian men said they had been violent to their wives.

Only 25.7 percent of male Egyptian respondents said that women should “have the same freedom to access sites on the Internet as men.”

Egyptian women were significantly more supportive of women’s rights on most of these questions, although one point of agreement concerned women at work. While women were over twice as likely as men to say that women should have the right to work, they largely agreed that it was more important for men to work when jobs were scarce and that marriage was more important for women than a career.

Inability to find work was a major source of shame, anxiety, and depression for men.

The survey noted that younger men and women, especially younger women, were more likely to support gender equality. Of the regions surveyed, Egypt scored lowest on the Gender Equitable Men scale, while Lebanon scored the highest.

Morocco produced some alarming results about sexual harassment, with over half of men saying they have sexually harassed a woman, and over 60 percent of women reporting they have been harassed. A higher percentage of female Moroccans (78 percent) agreed that provocatively dressed women deserve harassment than men (72 percent).

The survey, which was conducted by UN Women and a non-profit organization called Promundo, involved 10,000 respondents in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories.

Mohammad Naciri, regional director of Arab States UN Women, looked for optimistic signs in the report. “Amidst the stories of men’s violence against women, we found stories of men’s caregiving in the home. For every story of a man who compelled his daughter to marry against her will, there were stories of men who empowered their daughters,” he said.

“The patriarchy works for the very small minority who are on the top of that pyramid,” lead researcher Shereen El Feki told the BBC. “For the rest down below, lots of women, but also from the results of the survey, many, many men, life is very tough.”

Promundo CEO Gary Barker told Reuters that “everywhere else we have done these research… young men typically have more progressive views that their fathers and the older generation. That was not so here.”

***

Also see:

Study: Genital Mutilation Imposes Segregation on Immigrants’ American Daughters

AP

Breitbart, by Dr. Susan Berry, April 24, 2017:

The imported practice of genital mutilation can segregate hundreds of thousands of American girls from their peers in mainstream American society, say two New York psychologists.

The hidden segregation, however, is being ended by President Donald Trump and his deputies, who announced mid-March a new national campaign against “Female Genital Mutilation” that is commonplace in some immigrant communities.

Genital cutting by immigrant parents “sets these [American victims] apart from the mainstream culture and may complicate their efforts to adjust to life in the United States and cause intergenerational conflict in some families,” according to Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith and Evangeline I. Sicalides, the authors of “Female Genital Cutting in the United States: Implications for Mental Health Professionals.”

Immigrant “parents may consider it important for their [American] daughters to be cut, regardless of the girls’ wishes, as a way to maintain their identity with the family and its [foreign] cultural community of origin. Others may want the girls in their family to undergo FGC as a way to protect them from aspects of American culture,” according to their article published in the October 2016 issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Female genital cutting (FGC) and female circumcision (FC) are politically correct terms for the practice of “Female Genital Mutilation.” The process removes part or all of the clitoris, or even all of the external genitalia, in female infants, children or adults. The practice is widespread in Islamic northern Africa, where the most radical versions of the process are inflicted in Somalia. In many cases, the damaged woman is made unable to provide genital lubrication, which is deemed sexually distasteful in some communities that practice FGM.

FGM is in the news because Trump’s deputies at the Department of Justice and the FBI have promised to end the practice — and have already arrested a group of Muslim doctors in Detroit for performing FGM on several American girls. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” said the acting U.S. Attorney in Detroit, Daniel Lemisch.

Trump’s effort to save hundreds of thousands of Americans girls from the peculiar institution replaces the say-nothing, see-nothing policy of the pro-immigration,  pro-multicultural policy imposed by former President Barack Obama.

The two New York psychologists are not political activists seeking to reduce and protect the practice as it spreads by immigration into Western Europe and the United States. Instead, they are therapists who help other experts deal with the after-effects of the imported practice.

“[I]t is our professional and ethical responsibility to be informed about this cultural practice, and to possess the awareness, knowledge, and skills to intervene,” the psychologists say.

The psychologists’ primary concern is that females who have been cut may become patients of U.S. healthcare providers who have no awareness or acceptance of the immigrant practice and may bring “unexamined opinions and attitudes” to their treatment of these females.

Their recommendation is that healthcare providers exempt themselves from the politics, and merely treat FGM as a medical issue. Providers should avoid “pathologizing the experiences of all girls and women who have undergone FGC,” while also familiarizing themselves with the legal issues and physical and psychological complications associated with the procedure, they wrote.

“A thorough understanding of these factors is fundamental to promoting appropriate care for those who have had FGC and for developing effective interventions to prevent new FGC cases in the United States where the practice is illegal,” the authors write.

Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides attribute the rise of FGM in the United States to the increase in immigration from countries that perform the procedure:

The precipitous rise in women and girls who are affected by FGC reflects a growth in immigration to the United States from countries with high FGC prevalence rates. More specifically, 55% of U.S. women and girls at risk come from Somalia, Egypt, and Ethiopia where the prevalence rates for females ages 15–49 are 98%, 91%, and 74%, respectively (Mather & Feldman-Jacobs, 2015). Sixty percent of these women and girls live in eight states: California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington (Mather & Feldman- Jacobs, 2015).

In the United States, approximately 513,000 females are either at risk of FGM or have already been cut, an estimate that is more than double the 228,000 observed in 2000 and three times more than the 1990 estimate of 168,000, established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, FGM has “no health benefits, only harm.” The immediate consequences of the procedure can include severe pain, excessive bleeding, fever, infections, shock, and even death. Long-term difficulties include urinary problems, sexual and childbirth complications, and psychological issues, says WHO.

Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides downplay the ties between FGM and Islam, saying the practice is sometimes “required by faith” – though they do not mention Islam or the Muslim faith. FGM, the authors note, is also performed on females to reduce sexual desire in women, assure virginity before marriage, and to increase male sexual pleasure. Additionally, some perform the practice because a woman’s genitalia is viewed as “dirty” and “aesthetically unpleasing.”

FGM became illegal in the United States in 1996, for girls under the age of 18. The practice is viewed as “gender-based torture” and as a “human rights violation,” note the psychologists.

Initially, U.S. law “excluded cultural grounds as a way to justify the practice of FGC,” the authors note. “To circumvent this law, parents and/or guardians sent girls abroad to undergo FGC, usually during the summer months. This practice came to be known as ‘vacation cutting.’” In 2013, however, Congress outlawed the “vacation cutting” practice as well.

Since 1994, 24 states also have criminalized FGM and at least 12 states have made the practice a felony for parents who allow their daughter to undergo the procedure.

States without specific FGM laws utilize their own child protection or child abuse laws as a means of reporting the procedure, Akinsulure-Smith and Sicalides observe. They add, however, that mandated reporters – such as school personnel and healthcare providers – are “often unsure whether FGC constitutes [criminal] abuse and whether they have a legal obligation to report suspected cases of cutting.”

When female children have been cut, they are often hesitant to speak with state authorities for fear their parents or other relatives may be arrested, the authors explain.

The Trump administration Department of Justice has recently announced a national campaign to end the practice of FGM, even as the politically correct attitudes of the establishment’s media has minimized the public’s recognition of the problem among many Muslim immigrant families.

In a joint statement about the media’s failure to identify the exploitation of young girls exposed to FGM, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell and founder of anti-terror group ACT for America Brigitte Gabriel, said:

Where is the outrage? The hypocrisy is staggering. The networks, which have for years championed the causes of left-wing feminists and women’s rights, are conspicuously silent on this case and their silence is deafening. This is real exploitation of young girls and the usual suspects who ought to care have little to say about this form of torture making its way to America. This practice is illegal and immoral. The networks have an ethical responsibility to report that it’s happening here at home. If they don’t, they are guilty of aiding and abetting violence against women out of a politically correct fueled fear of offending Muslims.

Breitbart News recently reported three Detroit doctors have been arrested in what represents the first prosecution in the United States for FGM.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, owner of the Burhani Medical Center, and Drs. Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar have been charged in the FGM of two seven-year-old girls. Nagarwala was charged with allegedly performing the procedure on the victims, and the Attars – husband and wife – with allegedly being present during the cutting. According to the news report, Farida Attar was allegedly heard on a federal wiretap encouraging the parents of FGM victims “to deny they had brought their daughters to [the] Burhani clinic for the procedure.”

The report continues:

According to the complaint against Nagarwala, the victims’ parents brought them to the Detroit area for the gruesome procedure. The girls were told it was to be a “special girls trip.” The parents also allegedly said the cutting would “get the germs out” and that they were not to talk of what happened inside the Burhani clinic.

One of the girls later told the FBI she screamed in pain as she endured what Dr. Nagarwala called “getting a shot.” She then said she was barely able to walk as she left the clinic. Upon examination by doctors working with the FBI, both seven-year-olds were found to have genitalia that was “abnormal looking” with “scar tissue” and “small healing lacerations.”

Nagarwala was trained at Johns Hopkins University, but is reportedly the daughter of two Indian immigrants from the Bohra sect of Shia Muslims.

***

Also see:

Second Detroit Doctor Busted in Female Genital Mutilation Ring

Breitbart, by Ian Mason, April 21, 2017:

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, Michigan Friday, accused, along with his wife Farida Attar, of involvement in the same female genital mutilation conspiracy that led to the landmark arrest last week of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala.

The three suspects now charged represent the first prosecution in the United States for female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice common primarily in Muslim countries, particularly those in Africa. For example, UNICEF estimates that 98% of Somali girls and 87% of Egyptians have endured the procedure.

FGM perpetrates a range of different mutilations on its victims—mostly young girls. In its most extreme from, called infibulation, the girl is left with virtually no externally visible genitalia. The clitoris and labia are removed entirely and what is left is sown together, leaving only a small hole from which to urinate and menstruate.

As in the case of Dr. Nagarwala last week, the 16-page criminal complaint issued against Dr. Attar and his wife in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Friday refers to “a particular religious and cultural community” without specifying that community. It is now believed that that community is the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect, whose world leader, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has called for the tradition to continue.

According to the complaint, Dr. Attar owns Burhani Medical Center in Livonia where the seven-year-old victims from Minnesota that Nargarwala is charged with mutilating were brought. He and his wife were both allegedly present when the girls arrived with their parents for the procedure.

According to the complaint against Nargawala, the victims’ parents brought them to the Detroit area for the grusome procedure. The girls were told it was to be a “special girls trip.” The parents also allegedly said the cutting would “get the germs out” and that they were not to talk of what happened inside the Burhani clinic.

One of the girls later told the FBI she screamed in pain as she endured what Dr. Nargawala called “getting a shot.” She then said she was barely able to walk as she left the clinic. Upon examination by doctors working with the FBI, both seven-year-olds were found to have genitalia that was “abnormal looking” with “scar tissue” and “small healing lacerations.”

Farida Attar, the clinic owner’s wife, is alleged to have held girls’ hands in the examination room as Dr. Nargawala went about her work. According to the complaint, she was later caught on a federal wiretap telling parents of FGM victims to deny they had brought their daughters to Burhani clinic for the procedure.

Authorities believe the conspiracy extends beyond the two named victims and that the defendants have been carrying out FGM on girls from the Detroit area and beyond since 2005. According to the complaint, multiple Michigan girls have come forward to say Dr. Nargawala mutilated them in Dr. Attar’s clinic years ago. Authorities believe Nargawala was invited to the Burhani clinic from her normal job as a hospital emergency room doctor to carry out FGM on the weekends when the clinic was officially closed. Farida Attar is alleged to have told authorities she came in to see six to nine girls a year.

In a statement accompanying the first arrest, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said, “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”

Each count of FGM could yield the co-conspirators up to five years in federal prison.

***

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Culture ‘Never An Excuse’ To Harm Girls With Genital Mutilation

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On This ‘Day Without a Woman,’ Don’t Leave Women Oppressed by Sharia Law Behind

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LYNE LUCIEN/THE DAILY BEAST

The Daily Beast, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, March 8, 2017:

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March are holding another protest. This one is called A Day Without a Woman, in solidarity with those women who have lower wages and experience greater inequalities.

The protest encourages women to take the day off work, avoid shopping other than in small women- and minority-owned stores, and wear red.

The problems being protested against Wednesday—inequality, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity—are all too real for many disadvantaged women, but the legal protections for them are in place here in the United States. Women who are unfairly treated at work or discriminated against can stand up, speak out, protest in the streets, and take legal action. Not so for many women in other parts of the world for whom the hashtag #daywithoutawoman is all too apt.

Around the world women are subjected to “honor violence” and lack legal protections and access to health and social services. According to Amnesty International’s recent annual report, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women and girls are denied equal status with men in law and are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and killings perpetrated in the name of “honor.”

The relationship between the sexes in Muslim majority countries is inspired and often governed by a mix of tribal, traditional practices and Islamic law. Algerian author Kamel Daoud recently referred to this system as entailing “sexual misery” for both men and women throughout the Islamic world.Daoud favors the full emancipation of Muslim women, yet many commentators criticized him as being guilty of “Islamophobia,” a term increasingly used to silence meaningful debate.

International Women’s Day should be a day to raise our voices on behalf of women with no recourse to protect their rights. Yet I doubt Wednesday’s protesters will wave placards condemning the religious and cultural framework for women’s oppression under Sharia law. As a moral and legal code, Sharia law is demeaning and degrading to women. It requires women to be placed under the care of male guardians; it views a woman’s testimony in court as worth half that of a man’s; and it permits a husband to beat his wife. It’s not only women’s legal and sexual freedoms that are curtailed under Sharia but their economic freedoms as well. Women generally inherit half of the amount that men inherit, and their male guardian must consent to their choosing education, work, or travel.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, where Sharia law underpins the judicial system, women’s rights suffer greatly.

There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.

Many Western feminists struggle to embrace universal women’s rights. Decades ago, Germaine Greer argued that attempts to outlaw female genital mutilation amounted to “an attack on cultural identity.” That type of deference to traditional practices, in the name of cultural sensitivity, hurts vulnerable women. These days, relativism remains strong. Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women—female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, marital rape, and honor violence, particularly in non-Western societies. Women’s rights are universal, and such practices cannot be accepted.

The revival of part of the women’s movement, catalyzed by the election of Donald Trump, has deeper roots than can be seen on the surface. Like Wednesday’s protest, a large portion of Western feminism has been captured by political ideologues and postmodern apologists. Rather than protecting women’s rights, many feminists are focused on signaling opposition to “right-wing” politics.

One of the organizers of the Women’s March movement recently tweeted: “If the right wing is defending or agreeing with you, you are probably on the wrong side. Re-evaluate your positions.”

I’m all for dissent, but that “us vs. them” mentality has caused political gridlock, even on humanitarian issues where the left and right should work together. Hostility and intolerance to others’ views have made rational discussion on important issues taboo. A robust defense of universal women’s rights should welcome support from both the left and the right, overcoming domestic partisan divisions in order to help women abroad attain their full rights.

This International Women’s Day, we should protest the oppression of women who have no access to legal protections. We should support those Muslim reformers, such as Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, and Irshad Manji, who seek to reform Islam in line with full legal equality between men and women. And we should strive to overcome domestic political divisions to defend the universality of women’s rights.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and the founder of the AHA Foundation, which exists to protect women and girls from abuses of the sort described in this article.

Also see:

Female genital ‘nicks’ should be legal as FGM compromise, 2 gynecologists say

A teenager from Uganda's Sebei tribe sits inside a mud hut after undergoing female genital mutilation in Bukwa district (Copyright Reuters 2016)

A teenager from Uganda’s Sebei tribe sits inside a mud hut after undergoing female genital mutilation in Bukwa district (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Fox News, Feb. 23, 2016:

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Countries that have banned female genital mutilation (FGM) should allow less invasive practices such as small surgical nicks to girls’ genitalia as a compromise, two American gynecologists said on Monday.

But campaigners against FGM strongly criticized the proposal, saying it would undermine global efforts to eradicate the internationally condemned ritual.

At least 200 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM in over 30 countries, according to U.N. estimates.

The ancient practice usually involves the partial or total removal of a girl’s external genitalia. In some cases the vaginal opening is also sewn up.

But some communities practice less invasive rituals such as pricking or nicking the clitoris.

The U.S. gynecologists, writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, argued that permitting more minimal procedures could allow families to uphold cultural and religious traditions while protecting girls from more dangerous forms of cutting.

Communities which support FGM often consider it a prerequisite for marriage. Many also see it as a religious obligation although it is not mentioned in the Koran or Bible.

But FGM can cause a host of physical and psychological problems.

Gynecologists Kavita Shah Arora and Allan Jacobs said procedures that slightly changed the look of a girl’s genitalia without damaging them were comparable to male circumcision or cosmetic procedures in Western countries like labiaplasty.

Laws against mild modifications were “culturally insensitive and supremacist and discriminatory towards women”, they wrote in the specialist journal, which is published by the British Medical Journal.

“BEHIND THE TIMES”

FGM is practiced in a swathe of African countries, pockets of Asia and the Middle East, as well as by diaspora communities living in the West.

The gynecologists suggested that global attempts to stamp out FGM with legislation had failed and may by driving the practice underground.

“We are not arguing that any procedure on the female genitalia is desirable,” they said. “Rather, we only argue that certain procedures ought to be tolerated by liberal societies.”

They said the term “female genital mutilation” should be replaced with the less emotive “female genital alteration” (FGA) to avoid “demonizing important cultural practices”.

But experts on medical ethics, commenting on the proposal, said procedures to modify girls’ genitals could not be compared to male circumcision because they are designed to control women and curb their sexual desire.

They also predicted that legalizing more minimal procedures would generate a litany of legal, regulatory and medical problems.

Global campaigners against FGM said doctors should challenge harmful social norms, not condone them.

“Any form of FGM is a violation of a child’s rights,” said Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse, head of global advocacy at the charity FORWARD which campaigns against FGM in Africa and Europe.

“Why would you put a little girl through that? There should be no medicalization of FGM. They (the gynecologists) are completely behind the times.

“This is very different to male circumcision. With male circumcision there is no intention to attenuate sexual desire, control sexuality or enforce chastity.”

Rights group Equality Now said the “medicalization” of FGM remained one of the biggest threats to its elimination.

It said FGM prevalence rates had fallen significantly in many countries and that properly implemented laws had been very effective in countries like Kenya.

***

Pamela Geller writes:

Unconscionable. The poison fruit of Muslim immigration.

The more Muslims immigrate to Western countries, and as the norming of sharia continues in the West, the more clitoridectomies will become horrifyingly commonplace.

Dissemblers and deceivers claim that FGM is cultural phenomenon, not religious. FGM is an Islamic cultural phenomenon. FGM is found only within and adjacent to Muslim communities (source: Gerry Mackie, “Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A Convention Account”, American Sociological Review, 61(6), December 1996, pp. 1004–1005).

This same recommendation was made a few ago: the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated that American doctors be allowed to perform a “ritual nick,” so as to satisfy Muslim families’ demand for female genital mutilation: “It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm.”

We fought it then and won but that was then.

And now these gynecologists are saying: “we only argue that certain procedures ought to be tolerated by liberal societies.”

The sanction of the savage.

The Brits are suffering an epidemic of clitoris cutting. So subdued and conquered are they, the dhimmi British authorities propose to increase prosecution of FGM to include non-Muslim adult women who have piercings… That way it won’t appear that they are singling out Muslims. Got that?

The Glazov Gang-Dr. Mark Durie on “Our Fear of Islam.”

Front Page:

Mark discussed, “Our Fear of Islam,” analyzing the different psychological mechanisms the West is now engaged in its surrender to a totalitarian ideology, which includes the “Tend and Befriend” response.  The dialogue also involved a focus on Islamic female genital mutilation and the world’s denial about its Muslim theological foundations:

Stopping the Flood of Female Genital Mutilation: Egypt Brings Historic Case

egypt-woman-reutersby PHYLLIS CHESLER:

For the first time in Egyptian history, an Egyptian physician, Dr. Raslan Fadl, will stand trial for the female genital mutilation of a thirteen-year-old girl—not only because he broke the 2008 Mubarak-era law against such practices but because the girl died.

Dr. Fadl claims she had an allergic reaction to the penicillin used for the procedure.

Her family will probably settle for compensation for her death, as they cannot accuse the physician of undertaking a procedure that they themselves asked him to perform.

Doctors have been seen as the solution to an intractable problem. African and Muslim feminist activists decided that since the practice had such widespread support, that a physician (ideally in a hospital, ideally using anesthesia, and ideally performing a minimal mutilation, not the more common maximal versions) would be safer than an illiterate peasant woman with her rusty razor blades and knives.

Alas, that was not the case this time.

According to UNICEF, 91% of married Egyptian women between 15-49 have been subjected to FGM.

I first learned about female genital mutilation (FGM) in 1976, when my esteemed feminist colleague, an American in exile from her native South Africa, Dr. Diana Russell, published her proceedings of a legendary International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women. One woman from Guinea testified about FGM.

What she said was horrifying. Using no anesthesia, women, including the victim’s female relatives, held down girls of twelve and “without any anesthesia or regard for hygiene” attacked their genitalia with “the neck of a broken bottle… when the clitoris had been ripped out, the women howled with joy.” This witness also said that in other countries, “this savage mutilation is not enough; it is also necessary to sew the woman up…leaving only a small space for the passage of blood and urine.”

Another witness, from France, testified more on the side effects and complications of this procedure: “Hemorrhage, tetanus, urinary infection and septic anemia are not infrequent results. The perineum (tissue) of those who survive hardens, and will tear in childbirth.” She explained that some women experience agony if their clitoral area is even gently touched. And those who give birth may develop fistulas (urinary and bowel incontinence) and may be rejected by their families because of their foul odor. This practice is pandemic all over the Arab Middle East and among Christians, Muslims, and animists in black Africa.

This issue remained under the radar until 1979-1980 when I worked at the United Nations. In 1979, Fran Hosken, an Austrian-American scholar, published the Hosken Report which exposed the barbaric custom. Some African and Muslim feminists who were connected to the UN immediately condemned Hosken as a “white imperialist” whose outrage and exposé might hurt their within-system work to have physicians at least minimize the danger and the trauma involved in this atrocity.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I also learned about FGM from my Egyptian colleague, Nawal El-Sadawii, a physician herself, as well as a leading feminist. She is also a novelist and a very good one.

El-Sadawii wrote about her own traumatic clitoridectomy when she was six years old. She was terrified, in physical agony, but she remembers that her own mother smiled during the procedure. When El-Sadawii heard similar stories from thousands of her female patients, she began a crusade against this atrocity.

Read more at Breitbart