I was reading an Female genital mutilation essay out of "The Book Your Church Does Not Want You to Read," by Fran P Hosken. In this short essay, I learned that 84 million women and girls living in 1989 had been genitally mutilated. The objective is to make sexual intercourse impossible. The essay said it is practiced mostly by Muslims. This infuriated me!
I Googled infibulation, which was used as synonymous with genital mutilaiton and got some better information. Actually, there are several types of female genital cutting (FGC) which I believe the 84 million figure covered. There are now an estimated 100 to 140 million women living right now who have had their genitalia mutilated.
"Female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), female circumcision, or female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), is any procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the femalegenital organs "whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons." The term is almost exclusively used to describe traditional or religious procedures on a minor, which requires the parents' consent because of the age of the girl." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_cutting
There are actually four types of FGC, but the one that made me livid was type 3: "Infibulation:
refers to the removal of the clitoris, partial or total removal of the labia minora and stitching together of the labia majora." http://www.unfpa.org/gender/practices2.htm#14
The practice is often done in unsanitary conditions and they tie the girls legs together for up to 40 days (religious number, no doubt) to allow healing of the vulva. Regrettably, my wife and I had our sons circumcised, out of ignorance 20 plus years ago and I can remember hearing my oldest son scream bloody murder. It still makes me cringe to think of it.
When I try to empathize with a parent who is having their daughters vagina sewn shut, with just enough room for menstruation, I cannot comprehend it. Why?
FGM predates Islam and is not practised by the majority of Muslims, but has acquired a religious dimension. Where it is practised by Muslims, religion is frequently cited as a reason. Many of those who oppose mutilation deny that there is any link between the practise and religion, but Islamic leaders are not unanimous on the subject. The Qur'an does not contain any call for FGM, but a few hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) refer to it. In one case, in answer to a question put to him by 'Um 'Attiyah (a practitioner of FGM), the Prophet is quoted as saying "reduce but do not destroy". Mutilation has persisted among some converts to Christianity. Christian missionaries have tried to discourage the practice, but found it to be too deep rooted." http://www.witchhazel.it/female_genital_mutilation.htm
The hadith also is where Muslim men find out they earn 72 virgins if they die a martyr, so it is no surprise that we find writings about FGC there. And they are mad at me because I posted a funny picture of Mohammad! I am so mad at anyone who could do this to their daughter, I could scream like a baby being circumcised!