Monday, May 15, 2017 by Vicki Batts
Most people agree that female genital mutilation is an abhorrent and disturbing practice. In addition to being extremely painful, the practice serves no medical or health benefits, and often precipitates a host of other medical issues: Painful intercourse, difficulty urinating, cysts, infections, complications with childbirth — and even it bears an increased risk of infant death. Yet, female genital mutilation (FGM) remains ubiquitous in cultures across the world, and it has even been practiced in the United States, despite being illegal.
The fact that FGM is a violation of human rights perpetrated against young girls is virtually unquestionable: Even the World Health Organization describes it as such: “FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.”
But, there are still those who refuse to admit that the practice of FGM is inhumane. However, you might not expect such a person to have been a member of the United Nations — especially as a consultant for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). And yet, Dr. Fuambai Ahmadu was a lead consultant for UNICEF, as well as a former health specialist for the National Institute of Child Health. Ahmadu reportedly underwent the FGM procedure voluntarily and believes that the procedure is nothing more than a “nick.”
To be clear, in the process of FGM, most of or all of a women’s genitalia is removed — hardly a nick. The recent victim of Michigan’s Dr. Jumana Nagarwala’s FGM practice reportedly suffered such pain that the girl “screamed and could barely walk afterwards.” But not to worry, as according to Ahmadu the practice of FGM is simply part of what people are supposedly calling “gender-inclusive genital surgeries.” This statement is basically a farce: If gender equality and inclusiveness were important in the countries where they were performed, women would not be treated as inferior to men.
One of the countries with the highest concentrations of FGM is Somalia, as this infographic from UNICEF shows. Almost 95 percent of the women in Somalia can expect to be subjected to the devastating procedure, and in general, bear the brunt of the country’s hardships. As the UN explains, “The women of Somalia bear an unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority. This is further exacerbated by religious and cultural limitations on the role and status of women in Somali society.” Women in Somalia are prohibited from formal decision-making as well as owning assets and property, and are primary victims of violence and rape. Where is that “inclusiveness” Ahmadu so fervently believes in?
While Ahmadu tries to liken FGM to male circumcision, the two practices couldn’t be more different: Male circumcision, for example, is not associated with a myriad of deleterious medical conditions and risks to health — unlike FGM, which carries a risk of death, among other things.
Calling FGM a “gender-egalitarian surgery,” as Ahmadu referred to it, is a slap in the face to women and the fact that this person has been on multiple boards alleging to be for children’s health is a disgrace. Sadly, Ahmadu is just one of many people who try to pretend that FGM is a right — and not a violation of women’s rights. The Left-wing media has also been caught playing down the barbaric nature of this savage procedure.