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Yemen- Female Genital Mutilation


Rebecca Dracass

on 14 November 2009

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Transcript of Yemen- Female Genital Mutilation

Yemen- Female Genital Mutilation In the country of Yemen, especially in the
Sunni Muslim tribes, Female circumcision
is a common occurrence but it often goes
unspoken of in western countries. Most men and women support female circumcision. Sometimes men will circumcise their daughters or nieces if they feel she is being promiscuous. More often than not, these accusations of impurity are totally based on suspicion. At least 30% of girls who undergo circumcision die from loss of blood. Those that don't die often suffer from infections, trauma, and birth complications. Many young women are circumcised shortly after birth by the pressing of salt of warm cloths against her undeveloped organs for the first 40 days of her life At least 25% of all Yemeni girls have been circumcised, but this number is higher still in tribal areas where the people are outside the reach of health officials. Most women do not speak out against the mutilation of their own bodies because it is a passage into 'womanhood' and is cause for great celebration. Women are taught and convinced that they cannot even be women unless they have been circumcised. Though muslim scholars have proven that the Koran says nothing about circumcision being mandatory, and the government has banned all female genital mutilation, Islam culture still supports the practice. It has been fruitless effort against circumcision. Older women especially enforce the procedure, and perform it, although most elders that perform circumcision has no medical experience whatsoever. Circumcision supposedly gives men control over their wives and ensures that girls save their virginity for their husbands. In April of 2008, women's rights advocates lost the battle against female genital mutilation because Parliament eventually voted against the bill. The government has not outlawed the practice because a large percentge of the voting population is in support of female circumcision. Female genital mutilation is a huge problem not only in Yemen, but all over Saudi Arabia, Africa and Asia. Yemen is located at the bottom tip of Saudi ARabia. FGM was discovered by western peoples in yemen as early as 1952. In Yemen, the practice is done mainly in tribes on the Red Sea Coast. In Canada and throughout North America, we view FGM with an obvious bias. FGM is not a common practice here, and it is strongly 'frowned upon'.
However, in Yemen, and also throughout Saudi Arabia, Africa and Asia female circumcision is common and thought of as 'honourable'. In fact, girls who do not get circumcised are looked at as 'dirty and impure'. Yemen-Female Genital Mutilation Female genital mutilation is a huge problem in Yemen and all throughout Saudi Arabia, Africa and Asia. In Yemen, the problem is mainly in small tribal communities located on the Red Sea Coast. Female (and male) circumcision has been in practice for hundreds of years, different types of the procedure varying with different cultures and beliefs. Some of the earliest recorded circumcisions are found in the Bible, however there is nothing in the Bible that supports nor condemns circumcision. Often, circumcision is performed not by doctors in professional facilities, but rather elders of a village, or even just family members with no medical experience.
the WHO first made a public statement against Female Genital Mulilation in 1982
there are actually a few women's rights groups that are strongly opposed to Female circumcision in the countries where it is practised.
In Yemen, Female circumcision is thought of as a noble, and honourable practice that upholds family integrity. A woman is not even considered as 'wife material' until she has been circumcised. However, in Canada and other western countries Female Circumcision is considered abuse, and has rather the opposite effect on men seeking wives, at least, it is by no means considered an attribute. THe practice or circumcising has a very negative impact on young women, and in Norht America we are aware of that fact. Female Circumcision is completly illegal in Canada. In Yemen, Islam is a dominant religion and Muslim Scholars have recently been looking for proof in the Koran that a rule about circumcision exists. They have proven that there is nothing in their religion pertaining to female Circumcision. unfortunately, Yemeni elders claim that is is not about religion, but rather tradition. They won't stop. And the government cannot force the people to stop either, for fear that they will lose all their votes in upcoming elections. The issue of female circumcision in Yemen has really encouraged older people to preserve their culture more now than ever before. The laws have not changed much, in some parts of Yemen it is illegal to circumcise girls, but anyone who does not live close to a city, or medical facility can get away with the procedure regardless of the law.

There are however, more women now than in previous years standing up against FGM in areas where it is practiced. Canada doesn't really play any role in preventing FGM. Our country as a whole is against the procedure and ideas behind FGM, but as far as other countries go, we aren't doing much to help out the victims of FGM in Yemen.
Personally, i think that FGM is horrific and that we as Canadians should be trying to help in any way we can. In doing the research for this assignment, I discovered that there are various forms of FGM. These are (as defined by the World Health Organization):
type 1) removal of the clitoral hood with or without removal of part of all of the clitoris.
type 2) removal of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora.
type 3) removal of part or all of the external genetalia and stitching and/or narrowing of the vaginal opening leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual flow. (generally this hole is no bigger than the circumference of a matchstick. The idea behind this form of FGM is that the girl would not have the ability to be promiscuous in any way, until she was married. After marriage, her husband would have the right to Cut the hole open at his own leisure.)
type 4) All other operations on female genetalia including:
-pricking, piercing, stretching, or incision of the clitoris/labia
-cauterization by burning the clitoris and surrounding tissues
-incisions to the vaginal wall
-scraping or cutting of the vagina and surrounding tissues
-introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina.

this sounds pretty disgusting to me. Being a girl myself, I can't actually imagine anyone performing FGM on me. It sounds extremely painful, and I do not wish this torture on any other young women.
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