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AIBU to think that FGM ('female genital mutilation') should not be tolerated in a civilised society?

(84 Posts)
dolcelatte Thu 16-May-13 20:46:40

Apologies if this topic has already been raised recently and I am duplicating, as I tend to come onto MN sporadically.

There has been a lot in the press recently about the horrific practice of FGM, whereby girls as young as 5 have part of their genitalia cut off, without anaesthetic, often leaving long term health problems. The rationale is apparently that if there is no clitoris, there is no pleasure, which therefore minimises the risk of future infidelity. Sometimes the 'operation' is carried out in the UK or sometimes the girls go back 'home' for it to be done, typically in the school holidays, so that they can 'heal' before the return to the new term.

This is child abuse and grievous bodily harm, yet the authorities don't appear to be treating seriously or devoting other than minimal resources to eradicating this vile practice.

AIBU to think that it is absolutely sickening and unacceptable that more is not being done to protect these children?

worley Thu 16-May-13 22:30:57

i work for nhs. as part of our child protection course, if we come across children or adults that have had this done or are fron a culture that do this, we are to report them / inform our team of them, at the hospital; incase they go on to have children that may have this done and the chid protection team will become involved. it is taken seriously and was not part of our child protection course years ago, so for it to now be included i think is showing that they are trying to stop it happening as much as they can.

dolcelatte Thu 16-May-13 22:32:37

I don't know much about male circumcision, but my impression is that it does not have the risks and long term health effects of FGM.

WorraLiberty Thu 16-May-13 22:33:55

No-one should be hacking bit off children without a sound medical reason, no matter what their sex.


WorraLiberty Thu 16-May-13 22:34:08


whiteandyellowiris Thu 16-May-13 22:36:51

yanbu, fgm is a terrible terrible way to injure someone for lifesad

i think awareness has really improved, probably 20 years ago, we hadnt really heard much about it

it makes me wonder what the hell else happens in the world what we are not as aware of

whois Thu 16-May-13 22:38:15

Anyone who thinks that fgm is the same as male circumcision should be made to research the subject until their eyes bleed


FFS people "oh they do it to some boys too" please go and educate yourself.

nailak Thu 16-May-13 22:38:49

i think people are saying forced medical gynecological checks of all girls

cantspel Fri 17-May-13 00:59:52

The Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004. The act:

makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK
makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad
has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and, or, a fine

So we have the laws to prevent fgm but as yet we have not had one prosecution.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 17-May-13 01:14:14

it is a criminal offence here in the uk, but its still very taboo and often happens without being talked about.

PatPig Fri 17-May-13 01:21:56

Actually FGM varies quite a bit in scope. Some forms are much more severe than MGM, others are less so. Here: is a discussion of the practice in South East Asia, where the form being practised is no more severe than that which is routinely meted out to white boys in the USA, with basically no censure at all.

I don't think it's necessarily as simple as 'take them into care' either. In some cultures, girls and boys will be subject to these procedures as a matter of course and as a matter of importance (circumcision ceremonies boys can carry considerable social significance). We would howver prefer it that families doing this in the UK would not.

But while 'foreign' people may do this to their children in the UK, believing that it is right, we also have a situation where many white British people abuse their children in various ways, which might horrify the aforementioned foreigners, and yet those white British kids are not being taken into care.

So unfortunately the reality is that girls in certain Muslim countries are subjected to FGM, and where immigrants from those countries come to the UK, then inevitably that will take place here too. This is an inevitable outcome of multiculturalism, which has good and bad aspects.

Madmum24 Fri 17-May-13 01:32:57

So unfortunately the reality is that girls in certain Muslim countries are subjected to FGM, and where immigrants from those countries come to the UK, then inevitably that will take place here too. This is an inevitable outcome of multiculturalism, which has good and bad aspects.

FGM has no roots in islam (it is actually forbidden) it dates back to Pharoanic times, and is practised by certain countries, predominately in Africa.

PatPig Fri 17-May-13 02:02:16

Many Islamic authorities mandate FGM. Equally there is nothing in the Bible about condoms,but the Pope still talks about them.

TinaFeyFan Fri 17-May-13 02:04:04

Jeez...having been a mn lurker for a year or so i really hoped my first post would not be on such a horrible subject...however i feel compelled to say that fgm is not comparable to male circumcision in any way. (I do not agree with male circumcision either btw, ) but the reasons for the widespread practice of fgm is due to women and girls (and their sexuality) being viewed as inferior beings, pure and simple, With lifelong mefical and emotional issues resulting from the revolting act. What can the uk do?
A) ensure we vehemently look to prosecute anyone arranging for a uk citizen to be subjected to fgm (even if the act occurrs abroad)
B) educate young women that their genitals are not dirty and they not have to have them cut, mangled, destroyed just to maintain purity
C) ensure hcp's know what to look out for in women/girls subjected to fgm and be aware of any services they can refer them onto.

Sent from my iPad

BabyRuSh Fri 17-May-13 02:10:25

Fgm is nothing like male circumcision. In the most extreme cases it involves cutting off the labia majora and minors (both outer and inner fleshy lips of your bits) and then stitching it together with thorns. Without anaesthetic. The girls can't walk for days afterwards and are left with a tiny hole through which urine and menstrual flow passes. The urethra is often damaged and they have recurrent uti. Sex and childbirth are often very painful. And the vagina is often re-stitched up after delivery.
BUT I think a blanket ban on it is not the answer in less developed countries. It's a bit like banning abortions. That hut opens the door to backstreet abortions. I think the answer in places like subsaharan Africa should be to introduce mobile clinics where t can be done under anaesthesia and hygenically while the government works on discouraging the practice.

cantspel Fri 17-May-13 02:13:15

FGM is not forbidden and there is a haddith that supports it.

Hadith 5251 states: “Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband”

Not every muslim accepts every haddith as a true saying of mohammed but many accpet this one including The "spiritual leader" of the Muslim Brotherhood is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has stated: "It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a midwife: 'Reduce the size of the clitoris but do not exceed the limit, for that is better for her health and is preferred by husbands'. The hadith indicates that circumcision is better for a woman's health and it enhances her conjugal relation with her husband. It's noteworthy that the Prophet's saying 'do not exceed the limit' means do not totally remove the clitoris... Anyhow, it is not obligatory, whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world."

cantspel Fri 17-May-13 02:21:07

BabyRuSh So girls should suffer pain, lose their right to a satisfying sex life, have possible problems during childbirth all caused by a mobile clinic which is nice and hygienic?

The girls might not die due to poor hygiene but they will still be suffering but with clinics it will be state sanctioned suffering.

Darkesteyes Fri 17-May-13 02:22:19

Anyone who thinks that fgm is the same as male circumcision should be made to research the subject until their eyes bleed

THIS THIS THIS a million times over.

BabyRuSh Fri 17-May-13 03:23:17

The cultures which practice it aren't going to stop overnight. The girls are suffering now. Us saying it should be stopped isn't actually helping anyone on the ground. There should be an aim towards phasing it out while providing the cultures who are resistant to change with an alternative! It's going to keep happening regardless. Surely providing them with a pain free and hygenic alternative is better than just tutting an saying its wrong??

urtwistingmymelonman Fri 17-May-13 05:08:17

I don't think ops original post suggested any them and us undertones whatsoever.
yet again a serious and sickening topic is being undermined and overlooked by being turned in to a discussion about race!
stick to the topic people!

contortionist Fri 17-May-13 06:52:15

The least horrific versions of FGM are reasonably comparable to male circumcision or even occasionally less, e.g. pricking of the clitoral hood (NYT article). And some male genital mutilation is far worse than 'standard' circumcision, e.g. testicle crushing or penile subincision.

Cultural genital mutilation of children is abuse whether the children are boys or girls, and whether the culture is Weestern or not.

dolcelatte Fri 17-May-13 07:11:04

Thank you melon. I do find it rather depressing that a strident minority repeatedly seek to derail discussion of serious issues just so that they can demonstrate their superior ideological credentials and general PC'ness (if such a word exists!). Perhaps MN should issue a badge for those who want it, saying 'I am very clever. I am right about everything. I don't read the Daily Mail!'

FGM is wrong, evil, articulates the role of the female as a subordinate chattel, and has serious long term health effects. I am amazed at the response of some posters who just think it's all a bit too much bother to do anything about as it's only a tiny minority affected, part of welcoming other cultures, and lots of white people abuse their children anyway etc. So that makes it ok, does it?

I am grateful to the better informed on this thread, who have clarified that the laws are already in place to stamp out this hideous practice, which raises even more of a question as to why the laws are not being enforced. As someone pointed out, it is going to be obvious that FGM has been carried out when women have routine health checks (eg cervical smears) and undergo pregnancy and birth, so I don't think it should be that difficult to root out some of the perpetrators of this horrible crime and bring them to justice. Ignorance may be cited as mitigating circumstances, but it is not a defence to grievous bodily harm or, in the worst case scenarios, murder.

Roshbegosh Fri 17-May-13 07:19:35

Clouds, read kittens' post. A bit of foreskin is not the same as clitoris and labia. No comparison. And this isn't tolerated in the UK. 14 years in jail.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 17-May-13 07:53:16

The 'operations' might not be the same, but the principle is. Of course I can see that outcomes are often significantly worse for girls than for boys, but the point in my mind is that it's unnecessary mutilation of a child. I think it's equally wrong in both sexes.

Otherwise it seems like you are saying that FGM would be ok if it were done without it causing any long term problems, and it isn't.

Zorra Fri 17-May-13 08:41:56

I didn't misread your post. And I wouldn't excuse the practice of FGM under any circumstance, especially not as I have spent the last ten years in east and Horn of Africa working on child protection and child rights, and therefore probably have a fairly clear idea of the cultural issues (and health and whatever) that surround the practice.

My point, which stands, is that to call any society civilised presupposes that the culture or society which you are taking a stand against is NOT. This tone is crucially unhelpful, as it creates an us-and-them mindset which makes it much harder to address these issues in a multicultural society like the UK where people are from different backgrounds. If you can get over yourself, you might have an interesting conversation.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 17-May-13 09:06:55

it is terrible that so many young girls are subjected to here and in other countries it is cruel and is totally about control of women

it is taken very serioulsy here the problem is that within many cultures it is feared if women have not been circumcised (or mutilation as i personally see it but not everyone does) they will never marry, will not have children or a family to care for them as they get older this is a real fear for many

we need to educate just punishing people will only make the situation more difficult to deal with

male circumcision is a totally different thing, it is not done to control their sexual desires it is done for what many beleive are for hygiene reasons

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