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Female Genital Cutting

Female Genital Cutting

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Female Genital Cutting

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  1. Female Genital Cutting Martin Donohoe

  2. Female Genital Cutting • 135 million women affected worldwide (2 million girls/year) • Most in Africa (e.g. 98% of women in Somalia, 89% in Sudan, 80% in Egypt, 50% in Kenya) • Outlawed in Egypt - 2007 • Rare in Asia, Western hemisphere

  3. Female Genital Cutting • All socioeconomic strata and all major religions • Reasons: gender/cultural identity, hygiene, fertility, child survival, maintain virginity, enhance male sexual pleasure • Formerly used in U.S. and U.K. as treatment for hysteria (“floating womb”), epilepsy, melancholy, lesbianism, and excessive masturbation

  4. Female Genital Cutting • Has been called female genital mutilation • Not female circumcision • i.e., male equivalent would be penectomy • Ranges from clitoridectomy to total infibulation (removal of clitoris and labia minora, removing labia majora and stitching rough edges together, and leaving a small opening posterior for urine and menstral blood)

  5. Female Genital Cutting • Represents cultural control of women’s sexual pleasure and reproductive capabilities • surgical “chastity belt” • c.f. virginity exams by physicians in Turkey

  6. Female Genital Cutting • Type I - removal of clitoris • Type II - removal of clitoris and part of labia minora (80% of procedures) • Type III - modified infibulation - 2/3 of labia majora sewn together • Type IV - total infibulation – labia majora cut, rough edges sewn together (15% of procedures)

  7. Female Genital Cutting • Procedures sometimes include: • Incisions/scarification of perineum and vaginal walls • Introduction of corrosives and herbs into vagina

  8. Female Genital Cutting • Most commonly carried out between ages 4 and 10 • physicians perform about 12% of operations • Midwives, barbers, relatives • Often done under non-sterile conditions and without anesthesia

  9. bleeding infection dyspareunia painful neuromas keloids dysmenorrhea infertility decreased sexual responsiveness shame fear depression Female Genital CuttingComplications/Sequelae

  10. Management of Female Genital Cutting • Sensitivity/understand cultural identity issues • Deinfibulation • Immigration Issues

  11. Female Genital Cutting • UN, WHO, and FIGO have condemned • AAP initially supported “ritual clitoral nick,” then reversed position

  12. Female Genital Cutting • Illegal to perform in U.S. under child abuse statutes • ?“cultural imperialism”? • Girls Protection Act of 201 would criminalize taking a minor girl living in the US outside the country for purpose of FGC

  13. ?Cultural Imperialism? • Other outlawed “cultural practices”: • Slavery • Polygamy • Child labor • Denial of appropriate, life-saving medical care to sick children

  14. References • Adams KE. What's Normal: Female Genital Mutilation, Psychology, and Body Image. JAMWA 2004;59(3):168-170. Available at http://jamwa.amwa-doc.org/index.cfm?objectid=2A3A132A-D567-0B25-5985AC5574B1C538

  15. References • Donohoe MT. Individual and societal forms of violence against women in the United States and the developing world: an overview. Curr Women’s Hlth Reports 2002;2(5):313-319. • Donohoe MT. Violence and human rights abuses against women in the developing world. Medscape Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health 2003;8(2): posted 11/26/03. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/464255

  16. Contact Information: Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP martindonohoe@phsj.org http://www.phsj.org