Posts Tagged ‘Female Genital Mutilation’
When Sister Christa Marsik, one of the Adrian Dominican Sisters working at St. Clare, arrived, she brought with her professional counseling skills and set up a counseling program at St. Clare. The children at St. Clare have heroic stories that recount how they survived on the streets, how they managed to escape from early marriages and female genital mutilation, how they endured years of mistreatment, along with questions about their future, etc. Sister Christa is there to listen and help the children sort out these experiences so these events do not become obstacles to their growth and development. Here Sister Christa is talking with a Form II girl in make-shift office at St. Clare.
BREAKING THE CODE OF SILENCE
I wonder how many people know of the side effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It has come to my consciousness that I should stand tall and break the code of silence, for this topic is a taboo to some communities.
I had carried a book called “Desert Dawn,” the author is Waris Dirie. This book is actually talking of a girl named Waris who was mutilated at the age of five and later decided to run away at the age of twelve to escape an arranged marriage.
When Waris was only as tall as a goat, her mother held her while an old woman cut off her clitoris and the inner parts of her vagina and sewed the wound closed. The woman left only a tiny matchstick-sized opening for urine and menstrual blood. This Somali girl continually experienced difficulties with urination and menstruation. Her Momma believed this would ensure her future because girls with intact genitals are considered unclean and sexually driven. No mother would consider such a girl a proper wife for her son.
To my surprise the mother of Waris did not intend to have her tortured, rather she thought she was making her a pure woman who would be a good wife and mother and an honor to her family.
The women who do the circumcision use a razor blade or a knife sharpened on a stone for the cutting. If the girl-child bleeds too long they use a paste of myrrh to stop the blood. They cannot treat infection if it occurs because they do not have penicillin or any other antibiotics. During the marriage ceremony the girl really suffers. When a girl is married, the groom tries to force open the bride’s infibulation on the wedding night.
I am also worried that the government is not sufficiently involved in protecting children from injury or abuse. As the government is passing laws against the female cut, it is with the same vigor they should vilify bush circumcision ceremonies and allow boys to be circumcised in hospital. There is no evidence that excruciating pain makes one
a grown-up or that those circumcised in hospital are not “total men”.
It has been noted that many communities use a single knife on as many as 10 boys, thereby posing a major health risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. People need to be taught that there are more hygienic ways of circumcision. As parents, we should not allow a tradition to risk our children’s lives.
This is not a call to ban circumcision of boys as a practice. It is only a call against the inhuman methods used. It is also a call to end the era of traditional surgeons. Surgery is an important field and should not be left to the village quacks. We have
doctors and that is their work. That is the reason the weather forecast is not read by rainmakers.
I want to heal women who still undergo this painful experience. I won’t be an enemy to the communities who are engaged in the practice. I will work with them through education to eradicate this practice completely. However, it is very difficult to get people to even talk about it. I kindly request that you join me to eliminate FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION.
Ann is a Form II (sophomore) student at St. Clare.