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You've GOT to watch newsnight tonight shocker on FGM

(179 Posts)
Screwfox Tue 03-Sep-13 21:24:42

Watch this bloke justify it.
Are you a scratching?!

Full report on later apparently.

OxfordBags Mon 09-Sep-13 23:31:54

I would love to see the stats on how many victims of FGM achieve sexual pleasure and orgasm hmm I'm sure that countries where it is practised place a really high value on finding out how they achieve orgasm or can achieve it. I am totally aware that removal of the clitoris doesn't stop all sexual avenues - I posted a link upthread about a surgeon restoring sexual pleasure to victims due to the hidden length of the clitoris, thank you, but what is done to most victims of FGM IS so extreme as to make sex barely tolerable, never mind fun. There are countless interviews and studies across the decades where women talk about their agony during sex, or even just daily agony regardless, but I have once come across a single incident of a victim of FGM talking about what sexual pleasure she achieves and how she achieves it.

The study you link to concerns a sample group of just 137 women, with a range of FGM experiences. It may well be that some of them did have very little done to them. Others it describes as achieving pleasure once they have been DEfibulated, which is a reversal of some of the effects of FGM.

And, as Dogwood points out, if all genital mutilation is a violation of basic human rights, why are you belabouring the point about pinpricks?! Again, the word is prick, which does not automatically mean pin, and having looked at the categorisation before I replied above, it can mean a very forceful assault on the clitoral area.

I'd rather you explain to me how burning, scraping, incising and so on DON'T take away or totally destroy sexual pleasure. I hardly think that seeing these procedures as deliterious to sexual enjoyment is talking gibberish!

Probably the lowest levels of FGM aren't as bad as removal of the penis head and testicles, although some could be visually as extreme. I am more familiar with levels 1-3 seeing as those represent virtually all cases of FGM. A symbolic prick isn't as bad, no, but I think you are deluding yourselves and other reading this if you think that pinpricking represents the majority FGM experience.

I get the sense that you are misguidedly feeling that talking about victims of FGM as passive, sexless and pleasureless does them a disservice, and is perhaps anti-feminist, but FGM is designed to make women passive, sexless and pleasureless. We help the victims more by taking a total stance against it, not debating semantics about how a small number might achieve orgasm, or how it compares to male circumcision.

Every type of FGM, even a pinprick is fucking disgusting.

ANormalOne Tue 10-Sep-13 08:59:54

I never claimed that pricking represents the majority of female circumcisions, did I? Another silly attempt to misrepresent what I am saying. And I don't have to prove anything to you, you're the one claiming that they remove all sexual pleasure, so the onus is on you to prove what you're claiming. I don't have to prove a negative.

I am 'belaboring' the point because you are the one attempting to minimize genital mutilation. You made a stupid exaggerated comment about circumcision in an attempt to minimize genital mutilation carried out against men and make female circumcision out to be always worse than what men go through, which is nonsense.

Do some more research, dear, all circumcision is designed to remove sexual pleasure, for both men and women. We do help victims by taking a stance against all forms of mutilation, which is why feminists, like myself, want MGM discussed alongside FGM, because they are both violations of body autonomy, they are both mutilation.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 10-Sep-13 10:19:58

I am struggling even to read this thread without my head swimming as though I am going to faint. It is so awful and horrendous.

On past threads where routine examination was suggested I have been against this, however the idea of a routine, mandatory health check in schools where it is presented as a safe, normal thing and is done discreetly then I cannot object to this at all and would be in favour for boys and girls. Perhaps not every year but once per "key stage", ie every 3 years or so.

However it seems to me that we are stuck - the fact it's happening is more of a symptom than the problem itself if that makes sense - although that's hard to stomach because obviously the act of FGM is so horrendous and problematic - but the real problem is that it's seen as a need in certain communities. That's what enables it to continue, that's what causes mothers/grandmothers/aunts to put the young girls in their families through this, knowing what it involves, that's what is behind the severe recriminations that parents fear if they do not allow their daughters to go through this, and the fear that their daughters will become outcasts.

This is also why it's nothing at all like male circumcision, which I am also against.

Making it illegal hasn't helped because the fear of prosecution is lesser (probably far, far lesser especially as it doesn't seem to happen) than the fear of the child being outcast, or the fear of recrimination from within the community. I think this would be the case for a lot of people even if prosecutions started happening. So to me, that makes it an ineffective way to go about trying to prevent it. It's done out of fear, so trying to provoke more fear in the opposite direction doesn't help. I think support would help more, but it has to come from within or be supported by the communities themselves - there's no use in a load of white British people coming along saying "We can save you!" because that doesn't magically enable a girl to be accepted by her community or the elders of the community from attacking her parents. A poster further up said that a woman she knew felt glad that she had suffered FGM because it saved her from sexual feelings which she felt to be uncomfortable or wrong. Offering refuge does not negate any of these fears, and a girl who fears FGM is not going to speak to her doctor or teacher to express these fears if she is afraid that by doing so her parents might be arrested, or she might be removed from her family, or even that her family be removed from their community. Plus she has probably been told all sorts of terrifying things will happen if she speaks to anybody Western about the prospect.

It seems so hopeless.

OxfordBags Tue 10-Sep-13 15:24:06

ANormalOne, I have done post-graduate feminist research on FGM, dear. Granted, it was about 10 years ago, and at the time, we did not look closely at things like symbolic pinpricks, because there was some question as to whether it even happened or not, and Level 3 FGM included cauterisation and so on at the time.

However, one thing that is the same as it was back then at that is that male genital mutilation, MGM, is not an offically recognised term. It is a term hijacked from FGM by activists with their own agenda. FGM is called that because it is a literal medical description of what happens.

The majority experience of FGM is far, far worse than anything done in male circumcision. Most FGM is level 1-2, and the only comparable experience of male circumcision would be that terrible case of the little boy whose experimental laser circumcision went so wrong that they cackhandedly advised his parents to bring him up as a girl. The damage, the level of mutilation done to him was appalling, but it was a single case (albeit that we know of, academically) - comparable damage is done to hundreds, if not thousands of girls old enough to remember the experience, every single day.

I actually used the example of removal of penis head and testicles to point out exactly what you are not grasping - that it is disgraceful and ridiculous to try to nitpick. That it is absurd to try to make comparisons. And I am now, in my responses to you, making deliberately nitpicking and even silly extremes to prove theoretically that removing the testicles and penis-head doesn't really affect a man 'that much', because focusing on pinpricks (which has always been used as an example of what people could be doing, or which they could be urged to do symbolically instead of the full FGM shebang, there's no proof it's what is actually sometimes done) and orgasms in FGM victims is incredibly nitpicking and minimising of you. Especially as the study you used included victims who have had procedures done to reverse some of the FGM.

Male circumcision is just not as bad as FGM. You cannot persuade me, or others that it is, because, um, er, that would be because it is not as bad. Not as bad physically, or culturally, or ACTUALLY. These pinpricks that you want to focus on more than the other,majority forms of FGM aren't even proven to be something that's done, they're just an example given as to what could be categorised as FGM, as I said above.

Male circumcision is bad. I don't agree with it, unless there are proper medical reasons. Incidentally, Phimosis at birth is a problem that runs in my family, and I have several male relatives who had to be circumcised due to that. But I don't agree with it for non-necessary reasons. I'm glad people are. Campaigning against it for all other reasons. HOWEVER, linking it with FGM is wrong. The reasons why FGM is done, the effects, the extremity of what is done to the majority of victims, are very different from the reasons and effects ofmale circumcision, and especially in the case of the extremity.

By linking the two, people campaigning against male circumcision who insist that it and FGM are basically the same, basically as bad as each other, make themselves look ignorant, insensitive and misogynist, as well as being medically incorrect.

The campaign against male circumcision does not have to hijack FGM in order to be legitimate and important. Just because it is not as extreme or painful, and culturally problematic as FGM, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be complained about. But it actually shoots itself in the foot by insisting that the two are identically problematic.

CruCru Tue 10-Sep-13 18:16:26

Earlier in the thread, someone suggested a regular full medical check up. This is done in the US each year (or was when I was a kid) so could become a norm here. However, that may only be for those with health insurance.

BabyX Tue 10-Sep-13 19:52:16

I haven't seen the programme. I have read this thread part-way until I could not bear another post. I feel sick and heartbroken that people can do this to each other. I thank my lucky stars I was not born in a country where women are treated so appallingly. But what can we ever do to stop it? We are told to respect everything about other cultures, regardless of brutality. Well, I'm not respecting this.

It's just barbaric.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Sep-13 20:00:11

Hello all - thought you might like to know that we've got a very powerful guest blog over here from FGM survivor Nimco Ali, of campaign group Daughters of Eve. Do come and post if you've got a min?

We've also got a comment from Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer on the fact that, 28 years since FGM was criminalised, there's yet to be a successful prosecution.

Pixel Tue 10-Sep-13 21:20:51

Of course, what really needs to happen is for men to take a stand. Can't see that happening just yet.
I watched the channel four documentary linked below, and one of the fathers was begging the circumciser to go easy on his daughters, to only cut a little and not to stitch (she deliberately misunderstood him and said they had to be stitched or they would bleed to death but I'm sure he meant not to stitch so there was only a small hole left). I got the impression he would rather it wasn't done at all, it was his wife who insisted and even laughed as she held down her screaming daughter! And the young man newly married who wouldn't let his wife be cut open under GA because his friends would laugh and said he would do it himself? Obviously we were supposed to be angry at him for that, and I did want to give him a good shake, but I also thought it telling that he told the doctor "I wasn't there when they did that to her". He was trapped by the situation too and I actually felt a little bit sorry for him (not much of a wedding night), not as sorry as I was for that poor scrap of a girl who was so frightened she wouldn't let the kindly female doctor near her, but still, he didn't ask for it either. I wonder if he would really want his future daughters circumcised or if the right campaign could indeed persuade him to 'take a stand'?

PacificDogwood Tue 10-Sep-13 21:49:03

People of certain cultures are very trapped in their societal structures, expectations and taboos.
And I feel quite strongly it's not for us white Westerners to wade in there and tell other peoples were they go 'wrong' (in a patronising white missionary kind of way). We do all sorts of things that are incomprehensible to other cultures: breast augmentation/reduction, facelifts, 'tummy tucks' - yes, some of these have medical justification, but the majority don't. And one could argue that these procedures are done due to social pressures (to look a certain way) too.

HOWEVER - people how have plastic surgery for whatever reason do so voluntarily, they are not forced and held down, sometimes by their loved ones. They hope to achieve a better quality of life by undergoing painful operations (that sometimes go wrong causing longterm problems).
(As an aside, and please nobody pick a fight about this, one could argue that the need to look a certain way leading to plastic surgery is a similar pressure to what Somalian girls/women feel when they continue the tradition of FGM?)

Having said all that, we have duty of care to ALL children in this country. And that includes ensuring that they are not taken 'on holiday' to their homecountry only to come back mutilated.
How on earth to achieve this, I have no idea.
Tbh, the relationship of many British people to their bodies is such that I can just imagine many caucasian, native British families not agreeing to have their children undergo an intimate examination (even if it was just an inspection) as a matter of routine.
And I really don't see how you can just single out Somalia/Ethiopian/other African girls for this.

I am so glad this is more of a spoken about problem at present.

BabyX Wed 11-Sep-13 00:16:00

Pacific, adults give consent to plastic surgery - the rights and wrongs are irrelevant in this context. In fact, some women here choose to have labiaplasty. But they do so of their own free will. I don't really care if adult females choose to have their clitoris cut out. I care about children being tortured without consent, being left with appalling injuries to their most private parts without their permission.

It's about consent.

On your other point, I'm afraid I would absolutely NOT allow my daughter to have her genitals checked to rule out FGM, you're right about that.

Italiangreyhound Wed 11-Sep-13 01:42:13

BabyX may I ask why you would not allow your daughter to be checked (by a medical professional)? I don't want to cause offence, just to understand.

SomethingOnce Wed 11-Sep-13 08:15:45

I'd be interested to know too.

Pixel Wed 11-Sep-13 18:23:33

For a start we could stop the tide of small girls being taken on 'holiday' abroad during the summer and coming back circumcised. We would just have to pass a law saying that any young girl coming back into this country from a place where FGM is practised has to be examined on her return. Under those circumstances I'm sure people would agree to having every girl checked because every family would have the same choice whether or not to go to that country while a daughter was of school age. It wouldn't stop people visiting family, it would just stop them inflicting FGM on their daughter if they intend to return (which the majority would). Of course we'd have to follow through with actual convictions for that to work so the govt would have to show some guts for a change.

SomethingOnce Wed 11-Sep-13 18:37:19

Unless every country did the same, I'm guessing return home via a different country would be a workaround.

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 19:03:43

And I feel quite strongly it's not for us white Westerners to wade in there and tell other peoples were they go 'wrong' (in a patronising white missionary kind of way).

I understand what you mean, but I disagree in this case. It IS wrong. They need to be told it's wrong. They need to be made to feel stupid and backward for doing it. BECAUSE THEY ARE. We need to keep banging on and on and ON that this practice is vile, dangerous, demeaning, based on the most ridiculous, unjustifiable and unsubstantiated dogma, unnecessary and damaging on every single level, controlling, misogynistic, backward, medieval, and cruel.

I don't care how patronising that sounds. Actually.

PacificDogwood Wed 11-Sep-13 19:38:16

I was trying to make a point about the power of social pressure, not about consent, to try to understand why so many women continue to support FGM, sometimes even in an active role as the 'circumciser'.

Sublimina, yes, I agree with what you are saying. But I think that has to be limited to what we do in THIS country. Although linking aid to encouraging countries to stop FGM is a tempting thought...

SubliminalMassaging Wed 11-Sep-13 19:49:06

Very tempting, yes. And in my world I'd like to see a ban on families from countries who practice it coming to live and work in the UK, unless they are prepared to undergo medical examination to show their daughters have not been mutilated, with ongoing checks which would result in imprisonment then deportation for the entire family if they had.

PacificDogwood Wed 11-Sep-13 19:55:09

Hm, not so sure - IME, sadly, there are worse things that can happen to people in some of the countries they come from than FGM, hard as that may be to contemplate.

As with so many things, I don't think there IS a one-size-fits-all solution.
It would be welcomed, and I sometimes think the silence is deafening, if prominent community leaders, muslim and non-religious, would speak out publically against FGM. I can live in hope, but am not holding my breath currently sad.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 12-Sep-13 08:23:13

It is more popular amongst women in their twenties. Young, professional women. It's an absolute minefield and I do not know how it can be stopped. Until after the event. Where do you start? It's being going on for years and its across all cultures. Some people have pointed out that its a man thing. I have a dear friend who is one of seven sisters and not one of them has had it done. Her father was totally against it and, he's 90 now. So it's not a generation thing either. She is emphatic it comes from other women.

lucyintheskywithdinos Thu 12-Sep-13 08:27:56

What really horrified me, (bearing in mind that FGM wasn't new information to me) is that I just didn't know that the UKBA are not protecting asylum seeking girls and women. FGM is such a blindingly obvious risk, especially in the case on Newsnight, where the mother is single.

I just can't bear the thought that our so-called civilised country is happy to say 'nope, that's Gambia's problem'. It was made very clear by the little girl's Grandmother that she will be mutilated if they are deported to Gambia, I'm still in shock that we aren't doing more to protect girls.

Bonsoir Thu 12-Sep-13 08:33:18

In France it is matter of course for paediatricians and HCPs to ask DC to take all their clothes off when visiting the doctor, even for issues seemingly unrelated to nudity (ear ache...). The UK does not have the same culture of nudity in the presence of HCPs that France and other countries do. Furthermore, French girls and women are expected - and expect - to undergo regular genital examination, right through life.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 12-Sep-13 08:45:23

That sounds ideal if it was the same for everyone.

Should babies born to mothers with FGM be automatically put on the At Risk register.

Bonsoir Thu 12-Sep-13 11:26:35

I personally think that it is very difficult to target little girls "at risk" of FGM and to single them out for genital examination by HCPs in a country such as the UK whose culture does not routinely perform intimate examination of girls and women.

That smacks of huge cultural double standards ("we trust the natives and we don't trust foreigners") which is immensely distasteful. If we want immigrants to conform to our standards (which is perfectly reasonable per se), those standards must be the same for all.

Pixel Thu 12-Sep-13 23:04:33

The only double standard I see is that the immigrants only 'conform to our standards' when it suits them. Otherwise we are 'offending their culture' by suggesting they desist from doing something that is against our laws. The fact is the 'natives'' (as you put it) children aren't at risk of FGM (I can't honestly think of any case where they would be) and some of the 'foreigners'' children are. I'm past caring if it offends people to say so, all I care about is those poor children. What about their rights to grow up as fully-fledged members of our society, including being free from mutilation? FGS if you take a child to A&E with a suspicious injury or even if someone reports seeing you hit a child the authorities can insist on examining the child, but if there are perfectly valid reasons for suspecting a child is at risk of FGM we aren't allowed to say or do anything unless we say and do it to everyone else too?

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 05:34:04

Exactly Pixel.

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