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Mrs. Shearin Honors English 11 February 6, 2009 Female Genital Mutilation

Mrs. Shearin Honors English 11 February 6, 2009 Female Genital Mutilation

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Mrs. Shearin Honors English 11 February 6, 2009 Female Genital Mutilation

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  1. Mrs. Shearin Honors English 11 February 6, 2009 Female Genital Mutilation Sheelan Anwar Omer, a seven-year-old Kurdish girl, was told her mother was planning a party for her in her neighbor's home (Paley). Instead, Sheelan was forced into a rusty room and locked inside, where her mother ordered her to remove her pants. The neighborhood women held her down tightly, despite her objections. A midwife raised a stainless steel razor blade and shouted: “I do this in the name of Allah!” and she sliced off part of Sheelan's genitals. The girl let out a high-pitched scream that was heard throughout the neighborhood (Paley). This is known as a form of female genital mutilation, or FGM. FGM, while being a religious rite of passage in many cultures, usually results in physical and psychological damage and should be internationally outlawed. In many cultures female genital mutilation, is considered a privilege. FGM refers to purposeful unnecessary procedures performed on female infants, girls, and women – usually in a cultural ritual (Child Abuse, Third Edition, Clark). Kurdish people think it's done to control a woman's sexual desires while also making her spiritually clean (Paley). Many Muslims do it just for the sake of tradition. The prophet Muhammed performed it, and they believe in following down the path he drew for them. According to Nicholas Birch-Arbil of Time Magazine (World), 'Sunna' circumcision is the removal of the skin covering the clitoris and sometimes the clitoris itself. Some Muslims attribute to a tradition taught by Prophet Muhammed. “According to the Shafi's School [of Islamic Law] to which we Kurds belong, circumcision is obligatory for both men and women,” explains Mohamed Ahmed Gaznel (Nicholas Birch-Arbil). In some African cultures, women are circumcised just to be accepted as an adult into the tribe (Child Abuse, Clark). Female circumcision is a horrible, terrifying thing, whether it's being performed by certified doctors or the village midwife. Women who experience female genital mutilation report feeling great terror and anxiety (Child Abuse, Third Edition, Clark). Sheelan Anwar said, “I would do anything not to have this pain, even if [it] meant they would not eat from my hands. I just wish I could be the way I was before the procedure.” (Paley). ShukriaIsmaeelJarjees was forced by her family and friends in her Kurdish village to have her daughter circumcised and now her daughter is complaining of pelvic pain (Paley). By no means should peer pressure result in the defeminization of a woman – no matter her culture. FGM is a life-altering procedure, and women that undergo it are effected mentally and physically. Fatima Siad of America's Next Top Model said it was near impossible to engage in sexual intercourse without feeling unbearable pain. Women who undergo FGM don't have the pleasures of sexual intercourse that other women do. That privilege is taken away from them before they are even old enough to object. Instead of sex being an enjoyable moment to anticipate, victims of the practice dread it. Fatima Siad spoke out as a contestant on the show, informing many viewers across the country of her pain: “When I was seven, I was circumcised. It's a very traditional positive thing where I'm from [in Somalia]. Female genital mutilation is removing the clitoris and sewing the two labia together. I'm going to dedicate my life to making sure no one goes through what I went through. As we are talking right now, young girls are being circumcised and some are dying in the process.” As many as four to five million procedures occur each year, often with no anesthesia and by non-medical personnel, using razor blades, broken glass, or other sharp objects (Child Abuse, Third Edition, Clark). The procedure is usually performed by older women on girls as young as three years old (Child Abuse, Clark). Do they even give the children a chance to learn their ABC's before ridding them of some of the most important parts on their bodies? Many of the procedures result in severe bleeding, pain, infection, tetanus, and other complications (Child Abuse, Third Edition, Clark). Adult women experience painful intercourse, recurrent urinary tract infections, pelvic infections, and require an episiotomy – or reverse procedure – for vaginal childbirth (Child Abuse, Third Edition, Clark). Robin E. Clark wrote, “The labial raw surfaces are stitched together to cover the urethra and vaginal introitus [(vaginal opening)], leaving a small opening for urinary and menstrual flow.” How kind of them. Female genital mutilation is becoming less popular due to the victims' protests, refusal to continue the traditions, and their speaking out about it. According to Robin E. Clark, it is beginning to be seen not as a form of 'cultural diversity,' but instead as a form of child abuse. Though it is most commonly found in parts of Africa and some areas in Asia and the Middle East, it is known that some immigrants to the United States and other such countries continue to practice FGM – and they are represented by all major religions... not just Muslim (Child Abuse, Clark). In the fall of 2006, a Swedish court jailed a Somali-born father after he forced his thirteen-year-old daughter to undergo FGM (“Father Jailed for FGM” Anonymous). Sweden banned FGM in 1982. Kurdish areas' rate of FGM has dropped from 100% to 50% and is now not required, but optional (Paley). In February of 2008, the article “Sudan Says Female Genital Mutilation to be Eradicated by 2010” stated that the Government of National Unity said Sudan would be free of the practice of FGM by 2010. GONU Minister of Societal Women and Child Welfare, Samia Ahmad Muhamad, said that the practice was outlawed in September of 2007. Samia said: “Our thanks to mothers who have cooperated with us in the fight against FGM in their areas, where they talked with their counterparts from amongst colleagues and elderly women in villages and rural areas and stood firm in refusing their daughters or granddaughters to be circumcised.” The anti-FGM campaign was launched by the National Council for Child Welfare in collaboration with other national and international organizations working in Sudan (“Sudan Says Female Genital Mutilation to be Eradicated by 2010” BBC Monitoring Middle East). Since March 1997, female genital mutilation has been illegal in the United States (Macready). As stated in the article, “Female Genital Mutilation Outlawed in the United States,” immigrants coming in to the states are to be warned that the penalty for circumcising their daughters is spending up to five years in prison. According to a census taken in 1996, 168,000 girls in the United States are either at risk of being mutilated or have been already (Macready). The United States is a country that has outlawed FGM... think of all the countries where it is still legal. Think of all the little girls who are next in line to have it done. It is a huge problem across the world, and there are uncountable people out there who know nothing about it and must be informed. Genital mutilation is something that no girl or woman should have to do through. It's cruel and demeaning, and every action possible should be taken against it. Works Cited Birch-Arbil, Nicholas. “An End to Female Genital Cutting?” Time Magazine (World) 4 Jan. 2009. Clark, Robin E., et al. Child Abuse, Third Edition. New York: Facts on File inc., 2007. 117 (pg). Clark, Robin E. Child Abuse. New York, NY: Facts on File inc., 2007. 83 (pg). “Father Jailed for FGM.” General Reference Center Gold. Herizons. Fall 2006. Gale Group. KHS Library. 15 Jan. 2009. <http://www.galenet.com/servlet/ovrc>. Macready, N. “Female Genital Mutilation Outlawed in United States.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). November 1996. CNN Database. 30 Jan. 2009. <http://www.cnn.com/search>. Paley, Amit R. “Painful Ritual Resists Call of Modernity.” The Virginian Pilot [Norfolk]. 4 Jan. 2009. Siad, Fatima (contestant). Feb. 2008: America's Next Top Model. New York City: CW7, 2009. “Sudan Says Female Genital Mutilation to be Eradicated by 2010.” BBC Monitoring Middle East. KHS Library. 26 Jan. 2009 <http://proquest.umi.com/proquest>.

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