Women Say 'YES' To Genital Mutilation
A Woman In Sierra Leone Performs Her Duties
One Woman Shows The Knife With Which She Performs Genital Mutilation
What is more important, freedom of choice to live according to one's traditions? Or protecting young women from a barbaric ritual that involves the removal of the outer parts of the female genitalia? For a long time, when stories of female genital mutilation were heard, it was somewhat naturally assumed that the women were hapless victims who did not want to undergo the terrible operation.
It turns out however, that this is far from being the case for the women of Kailahun, a town in Sierra Leone. 800 women marched against the movement to ban FGM, claiming that it was a valuable part of their culture. The demonstration was organized by the traditional Bondo society, whose spokeswoman said: "Any organisation that has accepted funds from overseas donors to wage war against FGM is fighting a losing battle. Let donors keep their money, we will keep our culture."
Women claimed that the process of FGM, which involves the removal of the clitoris, and normally the outer labia as well, makes them better wives, and keeps their culture in check. According to AFP reports, one woman said: "We have inherited this culture over 100 years ago and it has made us women be responsible housewives to our husbands." Still another woman, a teacher, said: "We love FGM as a culture in the past, today and tomorrow."
These comments are even more shocking when one considers that the operations that remove the outer female genitalia are quite routinely carried out without proper anesthetic, and are generally conducted far from the sterile environment of an operating theater. Infection is a common issue, and the scarring from these operations can be quite terrible. Most who undergo this operation do so being held down and screaming, so then, what mechanism is it that turns a torturous ordeal of being violated in such a primal way, and having one's pleasure organs removed, into an act of cultural value? From their comments it would seem that these women appear to believe that they would not be good wives if they were in possession of their clitoris.
Is this an advanced form of brainwashing perhaps? Or are these women merely rationalizing what is little more than a vicious attack into something of value in order to be able to deal with it in their every day lives? This is a country that has been awash in blood for quite some time due to civil war, greed for infamous 'blood' diamonds, the pursuers of which often mutilate women and children, leaving them missing arms, hands, and legs, and we can't forget to mention the spiraling AIDS epidemic. Perhaps it is only against this backdrop of unbearable atrocities that FGM seems an acceptable practice.
Whatever the reason, this does give us insight into what seems to be a counter intuitive phenomenon.
Not all who suffer wish to be rescued.