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marianneh



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject: Children Live and Uncut Reply with quote

Multi-ethnic primary schools in Cardiff are carefully sensitive to the different cultures their pupils come from. That's great - usually. But this 'sensitivity' leads muddle headed teachers to ignore crime.

It can be difficult for victims of female genital mutilation to describe what has happened to them. Boys have to have words to describe their private parts as they can't help noticing them and have to handle them in order to urinate. Girls often don't really notice their genitals before menarche, and don't have words to describe them.

But we heard that some girl in a Cardiff primary school had gone on holiday to her parents' home country in Africa over the summer holidays. On returning, she found the words to tell her teacher that her external genitalia had been scraped off with a shard of glass. ''That's nice,'' said the teacher vacuously. She thought it was a quaint custom that should be encouraged.

But then, how should the teacher be expected to know that FGM has been illegal in this country since 1985? Until recently, no attempt at all was made to enforce the law. There is just one solitary case which is now pending.

Somali born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, later a Dutch MP, appeared at the Hay-on-Wye Festival. She thinks she knows how to deal with this. Every female child whose ethnicity puts her at risk should be examined by a doctor each year to check that she has not been subjected to FGM.

I don't think there is any rational argument for tolerating FGM. It's traumatic enough to survive it. But that's the best thing that can happen. The worst is instant death. There is also delayed death because it is hard to give birth efficiently. Sam Harris said that if just one person did it, the question would only be how severely the perpetrator should be punished and if they should not be executed.

But people will justify anything in defence of culture. So some older Maasai women in Kenya will say that they must keep it up because if you're denuded of your culture, you're a slave.

We could say that it was part of our culture to stick children up chimneys and down mines. Does anyone seriously think we lost anything valuable when we ditched this custom? Does anyone want to revive it?

People who have never known anything else will say that to omit FGM is 'not normal.' But to those of us who would never consider it,it is,of course, perfectly normal.

Those who think Islam must be placated at all costs, need to know something. FGM is compatible with Islam but many Muslims -in Iran or Pakistan say- never practise it. It would not be on their radar.

But Christians in Nigeria do practise it as do the Black Jews of Ethiopia.Some mummified corpses in Egypt show signs of FGM. It is mentioned by Ptolemy.

Some historian brightly suggested that even the erotic adventures of Cleopatra might have been conducted 'sans clitoris'. Some poor girls now are left sans a good deal more than that. It is thought that it is a custom that spread out from Egypt in ancient times ultimately to the Horn of Africa and at least as far south as Tanzania, and probably Zambia.

It stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia and Djibouti in the east.It has also crossed the Red Sea to Yemen in Westen Asia, and is known in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Perhaps it is Sunni Islam that has carried it to other places such as Indonesia. In the last few decades, it has been brought to Europe and America through recent waves of immigration.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not sexist. She thinks male circumcision should be banned too when it is not a medical necessity. I have to agree at the risk of looking like a big hairy Nazi.

The woman Nicky Campbell always addresses as Rabbi Laura on 'the Big Questions' would think this 'worryingly intolerant'. But male babies are known to have died as a result of this.

The Talmud allows a mother to exempt her third son from circumcision if the first two have bled to death after it. Only the third? What price human life? And this act is a subject for jokes. Let's get it right. It's child abuse.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:48 am    Post subject: jumana Reply with quote

The 'one solitary case' of prosecution in the UK over FGM did not lead to a conviction, From the verbal account I heard later, I think the acquittal may have been justified.

Allegedly, what really happened was that a doctor performed reconstructive surgery on a woman's genitals after they had been damaged when she gave birth. If it had been done by a female midwife immediately afterwards, while the patient was still under anaesthetic, no one would have thought anything of it.

A woman's body is designed by evolution to give birth, but evolution is not perfect. The vaginal opening can tear. It is only common sense to sew the tear up.

In the 80s, there was controversy about something I'm not sure how to spell. It might have been episiotomy which meant cutting the perineum open to get the baby out. This would be done without the patient's consent, even in one case to a woman, under general anaesthetic, who had written 'No episiotomy' down her leg.

Some midwives even cut the perineum open after birth out of fear of getting a bollocking from the presiding doctor. They would say ''Doctor X likes it.'' Dr X didn't have to sit on it.

This was a form of genital mutilation in the UK which was about doctors' power over patients. It wasn't to do with religion or culture, except the medical culture where medics were supreme and patients had no voice. If it happened without the patient's consent as it generally did, it should have been seen as criminal assault, but there were no prosecutions.

When I was about to give birth a few years later, I was told that it was no longer done. Experience showed that if the baby couldn't get out without the perineum - that's the skin between the genitals and the anus- opening, it would tear open of its own accord. There was no need to cut it.

Sewing up the tear is a quite reasonable thing to do. I had thought it was excluded in the act forbidding FGM in this country.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: nagarwala Reply with quote

Paul Nuttall of Ukip wants to make it legally compulsory for anyone who hears of an incident of FGM in this country, to report it to the police. Now that Ukip have won the main point - they have achieved Brexit, they are looking for new worlds to conquer.

I have a low opinion of Ukip, and they may well be doing this to smear ethnic minorities. And yet they are in the right on this issue, though only incidentally.

Not in the UK but in the US, in a mid west state, it has been shown that about 70 little girls have been subjected to this brutal crime when aged about seven. They were told it was a way to 'get the germs out of their bodies.'

In a great blaze of publicity, Jumana Nagarwala who was a professional doctor, has been arrested for this offence, and there have been two more arrests since.

Jumana looks like a fair skinned all American woman although she was wearing retro and modest gear. She could have been taken for a member of the Amish community or an actress from a remake of 'Little House on the Prairie.'

She is 44 but looks much younger. She looks so guileless, so innocent!


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:31 pm    Post subject: among the prophets Reply with quote

Ukip may be right for the wrong reasons, but it's still right on this subject. I can't object as I've already quoted Ayaan Hirsi Ali with implicit approval, on what is now Ukip's programme.

Each girl who belongs to an at risk ethnicity should be regularly examined, to ensure her genitals are intact. It will have to be done sensitively of course, preserving modesty as much as is possible. These are not parts you generally show to people.

When my excellent friend Liz Jones was at university, an Anglo Indian girl mentioned in a 'Can anything good come out of Imperialist Britain?' way, that she would have preferred to have been born in Sudan. Liz said, ''Well, you do realise, don't you, that if you had been, your genitals would probably have been cut off?''

I can't describe my feelings when I saw the Ukip front runner Liz Jones arguing with a burqa enclosed woman on the BBC News Channel the other day, and suddenly noticed, ''Good God, that's my Liz!'

Today I agree with very few of Liz's political views, but here are some things where I do agree with her. Between general elections, this country is like a five year dictatorship, moral relativism is insidious, illogical, incoherent and deeply immoral, there's no need to be ashamed to be British, and the invasion of Iraq should never have happened.

I hear that in enclaves and countries where FGM is normative, girls who are believed to still have clitorises or who have not been infibulated are bullied to the extent that their lives are made hell by other kids. This needs to be sorted out.

The Somali model Iman has spoken against the abhorrent practice of FGM as has Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But Aman, a Somali girl, whose life story became a charming and popular anthropological study in the West, felt as do many damaged people, that 'it didn't do me any harm!'

She gives a horrific account from memory of the cutting and sewing up, which raises the hairs on your arms and makes you bite your thumb in sympathy. Many pages later, she recounts how she was once in a gynecological ward, and noticed the unmutilated genitals of other patients.

She was repulsed, thinking them ugly in the extreme. She thought that they ought to have been mutilated in order to look decent. I wonder what the owners of these vaginas would have said if they had caught sight of her scar and infibulation stitches?

It is a fact that those who have been mutilated themselves, often think it should happen to everyone,and that those in the West who leave their genitals as nature made them,are 'filthy'.

I read of a well meaning white woman who was in Kenya in the 'white mischief' and 'happy valley' days. She made humanitarian efforts to discourage FGM.

The Mau Mau may have taken it the wrong way. She was found butchered and with her own genitals mutilated in the distinctive local way. We can only hope that this bit of cosmetic surgery happened after death.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:33 pm    Post subject: chastity belt Reply with quote

Female genital mutilation has been just about unknown in Europe historically, except during a period of hysteria about masturbation which peaked in Victorian times. Clitoridectomy was - very rarely- resorted to, as a 'cure' for childhood masturbation.

More usually, children of both sexes might be made to wear horrible contraptions at night. Attitudes to sexual play by children had once been quite relaxed. It may be Hariette Wilson's memoirs that recount a brother and sister playing with each other as late as 1800.

The boy asks,''Mama, is Sophie to have my doo-diddle to keep?'' ''No, my love'', answers his mother equably, ''Not to keep; only to play with.''

These nasty nocturnal devices of cruel metal had a fore runner in the chastity belt. At first blush, this looks much less painful than mutilation and infibulation.

Yet in some ways, it was worse. It would be uncomfortable to say the least. And what if it were worn for days, weeks or years, as it might be if the husband, father or other tyrant had gone on crusade? What if he lost the key?

The build up of bodily secretions would make the pubic area in question a site for infections. It would be smelly and unhygienic, and would finally make walking around an agonising experience.

Yet at least one woman was buried in a chastity belt. I suppose she was past caring by that time.

At least with FGM, the infibulator leaves a small opening to allow a weak trickle of urine and menstrual blood. With the most extreme excision, a nubile girl is seen as doubly virginal.

Her womb is sealed off. There's no getting at it. When it comes to the point of marriage, it is often necessary to cut the scar open with a knife to allow intercourse.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: nevermore Reply with quote

There probably exist human cultures where people are laid back about sexuality, and no concept of virginity even exists. The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert may have such a culture.

In the eighteenth century, British sailors believed that they had found such a place in Tahiti. They appreciated it.

In the 1920s, Margaret Mead believed she had found a paradise of sexual permissiveness in Samoa. She wrote an anthropological classic, 'Coming of Age in Samoa.'

For many decades it was taken as the definitve study. According to Mead, parents allowed their daughters to have their boyfriends to stay overnight. Although this involved penile penetrative poking, it never led to pregnancy at an inconvenient time or at an unsuitably young age.

It had never once happened in history. These people never became pregnant except deliberately.

Furthermore, adolescent kids who couldn't get on with their parents could move out, and then just move in with parent substitutes that they preferred.

Actually, parents were deferential to their children, letting them do whatever they damn well pleased.

After Mead's death, Derek Freeman from New Zealand expressed profound scepticism in a study. His experience of Samoan culture led him to believe that parents often shamed their children, and were extremely strict. What's more, female virginity was prized in a rather neurotic way.

Mead wasn't just wrong. Everything she wrote was the exact opposite of the truth. It was like an Atos assessment as it were! He suspected that someone had been taking the mickey out of the earnest young anthropologist.

After he published his work, certain old ladies from Samoa came forward to admit that they had told Mead a lot of nonsense, a complete reversal of the truth, when they were girls.

For them it was just something to giggle about later. They had no idea that the young Mead would become so celebrated in her maturity. They had had no idea how far their fibs would spread.

The greatest harm they did was to young hippies in later decades. Flower Power ,New Age tree huggers believed that if only they lived in harmony with nature, they too could psych themselves to avoid pregnancy without using tangible contraceptives.

It's a long time since I've read 'Coming of Age in Samoa', and I don't remember the details. But I think the style and tone may have been quite lyrical. What a shame that it had no factual basis!


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: a prize - a precious gift Reply with quote

It's a fairly good rule of thumb that in countries where female virginity is especially prized, women are devalued.

Saudi Arabla is bad. But we are not all that great.

We used to know a nasty but pathetic guy who always complained that he had never had sex, was desperate for it; it wasn't fair, and someone should give it to him.

It was a turn off. We would think, ''What's wrong with you that no one else wants you? I don't want you either!''

Male virginity is someting that appears pitiable at best,although we all start as virgins.

But traditionally, a man did not want a woman who was 'shop soiled', at least not for a wife. When white wedding dresses first became de rigeur, they were not thought to symbolise virginity at all.

But that was how they came to be seen. In my lifetime, quite young women still spoke of 'hypocrites' who had no 'right' to white wedding dresses, but wore them anyway.

In Wales, we were earthy and wrote poems about our vaginas. Yet even we had a law about false virgins. If a woman was advertised as a virgin and her new husband believed her not to be one, he should stand up with his penis erect before the wedding guests and denounce her.

If she could not find fifty character witnesses of good repute to swear he was wrong, she would be divorved and humiliated.

Her shift would be cut short like a mini dress. Then a young steer - or was it a piglet?- had to be driven through her legs. If she could reach down and grab hold of its tail with slippery hands that had been well greased, she could have it as her part of the divorce settlement. Otherwise, 'let her keep the grease that sticks to her hands.'

It's not as bad as being shot or stoned to death. But it shows that even we had this rather creepy tendency to set great store on virginity, something that is immaterial and irrelevant from any rational point of view.

Barbara Cartland's novels sell well in Saudi Arabia. She always used to brag that the 'heroines' in her frothy romances were always pure and virginal. She said a man didn't want to have to wonder whom his wife had slept with before.

She became impatient when asked where the 'heroes' had learnt their technique. It was with prostitues of course.

For a long time, she allowed the public to believe that even after her marriage, although no longer technically a virgin, she was one emotionally.

But later she let it be known that the natural father of her daughter Raine was Prince George, Duke of Kent. She lamented at parties that it was no wonder the marriage between Prince Charles and her stepgranddaughter had broken up.

She said that Diana made oral sex a no go area. ''She just refused to [do it]. It was so sad.'' Purity advocates are not quite what they seem.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:01 am    Post subject: the unkindest cut of all Reply with quote

Probably most societies, at least in the Old World, have prized female virginity.But they have differed in how it is policed.

In the West, we have had chaperones and attempts to keep boys and girls apart, and even chastity belts. But mostly, it was a matter for instilling the values that society held dear. They would become internalised.

In Sicily, there may have been cases of Mafiosi shooting their errant sisters. Gypsies often make a ritual of defloration after marriage to demonstrate that it did not happen before.

This is tough on young boys too. They are expected to marry at a young age, and often damage themselves in their struggle to perform.

It is mostly in Africa and the Middle East that it is the woman's genitals rather than merely her mind that are caged. In the more compassionate areas, the ritual has become almost symbolic. The glans clitoris is just briefly pricked and then left where it is.

It is more usual for the glans to be snipped off. In other areas, the vaginal orifice is also sewn up, leaving only a small opening for bodily fluids. Quite often, the labia are cut off, and sometimes sewn back on cross wise to cover the orifice. In the most extreme cases, there is nothing left to see. It is just a flat expanse with a bumpy scar.

Here is the good news. Sometimes when having restorative surgery in later life, a woman will find that she still has a clitoris. It was just hiding. The infibulator sewed her up without touching the clitoris for fear of legal action. A major artery goes through the clitoris. If the victim bled to death, there might be trouble.

For an outsider, it is difficult to see how anyone could justify such a practice. But they do.

Ayann Hirsi Ali records that when her father was a prisoner of Said Barre, and her mother was away for some mysterious reason, she and her brother and sister were left in the care of their grandmother.

The old woman arranged for the boy Mahad to be circumcised, and for Ayaan and her little sister Haweya to be 'purified'. For days afterwards they had to lie still to allow scars to form. Urination made the pain as sharp as when they had been cut.

Haweya had been a carefree playful little girl. But she had struggled so much that scars were left on her thighs, which remained until she died. She became quiet and sullen, staring at nothing. They all had nightmares and wet their beds.

When their mother returned she was furious. Neither she nor her husband had wanted it done. She shouted at her mother, ''Never have I been so betrayed as I have been by you!'' Her mother was immediately on her high horse, shouting back that she had done her daughter a big favour.

Did she think the girls would be children for ever? Who would want to marry them if they had great 'kintirs' dangling between their legs? She had given the children the impression that if they were left uncut, their clitorises would grow obscenely large and swing from side to side between their legs.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: culture-vulture Reply with quote

FGM is practised in Africa and the Middle East by Muslims, Christians, Ethiopian Jews and probably by Pagans and Animists. The Hadith gives some support. It claims that Mohammed supported the minor or sunna circumcision, warning, ''Do not cut too much.''

People will argue that it is a cultural tradition, not enjoined by any one religion, and that it would be unfair to blame religion for it. This is not exactly untrue, but it is a rather weak and empty argument.

In these places, religion is part of the air people breathe. They are intensely religious as surveys show. Atheism is not really an option for them. To make a distinction between religion and culture is something that detached academic anthropologists can do, but the distinction is artificial.

The people at grass roots level don't see the difference. Culture and religion are so enmeshed, it is not really possible to tease them apart. I owe this insight to Jeremy Stangroom and Ophelia Benson.

It was their opinion originally, but I agree with it very much. It is true though, that cultural pre-occupations cross religious boundaries.

Liz Jones - now Liz Jones Ukip - and I had a so-called friend, an ethnically Burmese woman whose tribe had been in what is now Bangladesh for some centuries. Because they were Buddhists, Muslims had a genocidal campaign against them.

This woman naturally hated Muslims, but she did not have a detached attitude to mundane concerns like a Zen master. She would keep me awake at night with damn fool questions like, ''Can you lose your virginity to a tampon?''

I felt like saying, ''Only if you really love it.'' The correct answer is that a virgin is a person of either sex who has not had sexual intercourse. So of course, it is not possible to lose your virginity to a tampon.

I think her mother had warned her that this was a possibility. I can't understand this fetishising of virginity.

For about three years as a teenager, I didn't know if I was a virgin or not. I'd attempted intercourse but wasn't sure I'd really managed it. I didn't think it was very important anyway.

Most women are born with a membrane formerly known as the 'maidenhead' partly obstructing the entrance to the vagina, but it does not prevent the insertion of a tampon. Elaine Morgan would say its purpose is to protect the vagina from abrasive sand. It will not be with you for life, 'but it is better to have it for twelve or twenty years than not to have it at all.'

It will usually be ruptured by intercourse and obliterated by childbirth. It can make sexual initiation painful, but it is of no importance otherwise. It is icky to fetishise it.

I remember a TV quiz show where the question came up, ''What is an old word for virginity and also a town in south east England?'' I exclaimed, ''Oh God, it's not Maidenhead is it? That's really tacky!''

But the contestant answered, ''Crouch End.'' He must know something the rest of us don't.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Fauziya Reply with quote

Fauziya Kassinga of Togo had been lucky. Both her parents opposed FGM. In her father's case, it was because it had killed his sister.

They also wanted Fauziya to stay at school until she was 18. But her luck ran out. Her father died, and his relatives, according to local custom, threw her mother out of the family home, and took over running Fauziya's life.

Her aunt wanted her to leave school. She said, ''We don't believe that women should be too civilized.''

The aunt also wanted her to marry a randy old man who was repugnant to her and already had three wives. Different areas inflict FGM at different ages. Ayaan Hirsi Ali had been five,and she was the last girl in her class to be done.

It can happen shortly after birth, at puberty or after the victim has had her first child. Fauziya's aunt and the old man wanted her to be done before the marriage.

Fauziya went to see her mother who gave her her share of the inheritance from her father. While the ritual circumciser was already in the house, Fauziya slipped quietly out of the back door. Her sister had come to collect her.

They took a taxi to Ghana 20 miles away and another to the airport.

Fauziya spent part of her legacy on a plane ticket to Germany and and then another to the USA. She was put in a nasty detention centre immediately on arrival. But she claimed asylum status on the grounds that FGM is a human rights abuse.

Her application was not immediately granted. But on appeal, it was held that FGM is indeed a human rights abuse, and a form of persecution from which you can legitimately claim refuge in a foreign country.

Celia Dugger spoke to Fauziya's uncle. He said that women were cut because it had been done by the forefathers. Women who were not cut would be mocked. Islam did not demand it but neither did the Prophet Mohammed forbid it.

Fuuziya's aunt said she could tell the girl did not want to be cut but she did not openly refuse. Fauziya's version was that she had pleaded all summer to be let off. Her aunt had been angry and no longer called her by her name, just addressing her as 'you who have no respect.'

The jilted groom's existing junior wife had been cut at the age of 15 just before she married him. She said the pain was much worse than childbirth, but she approves of it. It preserves virginity.

His senior wife Salamatou would have run away too had she been old enough, but she had been just a little girl when she was cut. An older woman had sat on her chest while her clitoris and labia were cut off.

She parted the thighs of her child Fatima and made a scooping motion to show how all the external tissue there would be sheared away. It was not what she wanted for her daughter but that was not the point.

She said, ''I have to do what my husband says. It is not for women to give an order.I feel what happened to my body. I remember my suffering, but I cannot prevent it for my daughter.''


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:41 am    Post subject: son of an uncircumcised mother Reply with quote

I've heard it alleged that in some Arab countries, the worst insult one man can give another is to call him 'the son of an uncircumcised mother.' Yet it was mostly older women who inflicted the practice.

Some young men had led such sheltered lives, that when they were given a wife, they wouldn't know if she was circumcised or not. They didn't know what a woman's parts were supposed to look like.

Unfortunately, it is now much easier to access porn. This has galvanised men into supporting FGM who were indifferent before. After all, look what effect having uncut genitals has on western women. It inflames them to the degree that they work in the porn industry!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:22 am    Post subject: traitors? Reply with quote

People, unaware of the complexities and perversity of the human heart, might expect that left wing people would oppose FGM. Probably, some of them do.

But others have fallen prey to cultural relativism, and think they must respect whatever happens in 'other cultures'. This is incredibly condeseneding and also racist, although they presumably think they are opposing racism.

Cultures other than your own are not monoliths. Different people will have differing attitudes within them. The thugs who have seized power cannot speak for everyone. Unenlightened old buggers don't have to be respected as community leaders. Is that how you see callous poiticians of your own nationality? Of course not.

It is possible for western liberals to argue that we need a 'nuanced' approach to cultural practices, that some older women have a generally postive attitude to genital cutting.

You will also hear old Etonians saying that cold showers, beatings and buggery did them a power of good at a tender age, and that's what the young people of today need. We shouldn't take their word for it. This sort of talk shows how emotionally stunted they are.

We can surely expect western feminists to support their sisters in Africa and the Middle East who are labouring to bring an end to FGM, can't we? Don't take it for granted.

Don't ask Germaine Greer to sign your petition. She's now persona non grata as a speaker at Cardiff University because of her intolerance for transsexual peoople.

Germaine is so erratic, so quirky! You never know where you are with her.

She disapproves of men who voluntarily cut off their genitals in their quest to become female. In the 60s and 70s she opposed pointy bra cups, inspired by the space race.

She presumably thought they were 'unnatural' and uncomfortable. But now she has come out against opposing FGM.

I think she may have said that it was 'prideful' to assume that children do not want sex with adults. If I remember rightly, in 'Sex and Destiny' she was critical of those who thought it was terrible that contraception was banned in Romania. Writing before the Romanian uprising of 1989,she said that perhaps in Romania, there was no concept of birth control as an individual decision.

Germaine is not consistent. She's just a controversialist for the sake of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: zoe Reply with quote

I was happy that one of my sons had a bit of a romance with an ethnically Swedish teenager who sounded interesting. But I was just a bit concerned to see from her online accounts that she is into 'body modification', and also has a whole site on 'large genital piercings.'

But as it is voluntary and a form of self expression, we must just shrug, and let them get on with it. The whole point is that no one is forcing them to have an Albert or genital chains and rings. It doesn't sound very comfortable, but it's their choice.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:29 pm    Post subject: buchi Reply with quote

It was in a hall of residence like a Transylvanian castle in red brick that I first met Liz Jones, then a young law student, now a hopeful for the Ukip leadership. Anyone less insouciant than Liz might have found it embarrassing to be in this notorious place which might well have been called Dothegirls Hall.

It was known locally as Chastity Castle among much ruder epithets, and it was a popular choice with Muslim and Hindu parents as it was one of the few remaining single sex halls of residence left. It had the aura of a boarding school.

One of the rabid wardens was oblivious to the endemic experimental lesbianism, but went round at night pressing her eye against the keyholes. Keyhole Kate was eager to find men up to no good.

Liz's views may have changed on some things, but long before her Ukip days, she was a sworn enemy of FGM. She would declaim against it at communal meals in Dothegirls Hall, recounting a story of a man who had married an excised woman.

Because she had been cut open wrongly, his penis was in the wrong cavity, where her urethra should have been. He was not willing for the grand opening of her parts to be redone. She was in agony, but he said, ''She's my wife. I like her [as she is].''

In my circumscribed if not circumcised school days, I was in a cultural desert where women's books were concerned. It was like manna from heaven to find them at university, and for a while I didn't want to read anything else.

One of the women whose literary output I enjoyed, was Buchi Emecheta from Nigeria. She had been brought up at a Christian missionary school, but Paganism was barely suppressed in her family.

She admitted that children were often treated callously in African culture, but believed it was unthinking rather than vindictive.

She was far more upset when she came to the UK in the 60s, and saw the 'Sorry, No Coloureds' signs everywhere. She worked in a library like a middle class person but had to live in a house her husband described as 'a horror.'

She had had to marry shortly after leaving school in order to live away from her parents. Ibo society thought women who lived alone must be prostitutes.

They came to the UK together. He was apparently useless and unpleasant, giving her lots of children but no support.

Liz told me that she too used to enjoy the works of Buchi Emecheta, but she was afraid the writer had now lost it. She had turned against white women, and had come out in favour of FGM. It had never occurred to me before that Buchi Emecheta had suffered this herself, but she had.

Joan Bakewell participated in an episode of the TV series, 'Heart of the Matter' on FGM in the 90s. It was an attempt to break a dangerous silence.

The subject had been raised by British teachers. Children would spend suspiciously long holidays in their parents' countries of origin. The teachers feared that they had become victims of FGM.

Doctors and midwives were in a quandary too. They had to attend 'circumcised' women who had immense difficulty giving birth. The sewing procedure had narrowed the birth canal dangerously.

They had to uncut the women or unpick the stitches to let the poor babies out alive. Then the women's families wanted them to sew the orifice up exactly as it had been before. They weren't at all sure that that was the right thing to do.

The programme featured interviews with women from Somalia and the Horn of Africa who were campaigning to stop the practice. They had suffered it themselves, and didn't want it to happen to their children.

British discussion shows usually try to show two sides of a question, even when there is only one side. Joan Bakewell went to interview Buchi Emecheta to get a different perspective.

Apparently, Buchi couldn't speak temperately on the subject at all. According to her, it was a proud Nigerian custom that should not be impugned. She could not contain her anger at hearing it derided.

Liz was right. On this subject, Buchi Emecheta was not sane.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:07 pm    Post subject: kyitaragabirwe Reply with quote

In Uganda, it was traditionally important to be able to deliver a virgin daughter to a suitable bridegroom. Then you could demand a handsome bride price. Perhaps it would include several head of cattle or even a whole herd.

Mauda Kyitaragabirwe disappointed her family's expectations. She was found to be pregnant at 12. Her relatives rowed her by canoe to 'Punishment Island' which was really just a patch of waterlogged grass.

Most children were not taught to swim. So the foolish virgins who were marooned there for being led astray, had the option of jumping into the water and drowning, or staying where they were with no food or drinking water.

In pratice, they rarely starved. Mauda was there for four days only before a young man came to claim her. Men who could not afford a bride price came cruising, looking for a free wife.

Mauda said her husband was good to her. They had six chidren and if any of her daughters had become pregnant while unmarried, she would not have done anything nasty to them.

She was reticent about what happened to the first baby, only saying that it was never born. The interviewer inferred that her family beat her up so badly that she miscarried, and that that had been their idea all along. She didn't have much to say about the man who led her down 'Satan's path.'

It would be nice to think that this story is of historical interest only. Mauda still moves with grace and believes herself to be in her 80s. But her descendants think she is well over a hundred. She says that since she has become a Christian, she has forgiven everyone.
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dai



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Marianne : you were on a roll last night ? Shocked

Laughing

A thought occurred to me as I read through those posts : I do not watch much television - and rarely commercial channels - but I can not help noticing all of these strange advertisements for tampons and panty-liners ... It occurs to me that genital mutilation might have originally had the same kind of impulse behind it to tidy things up : perhaps it even supposedly has positive health benefits in terms of hygiene ? ... And there are populations in Africa which apparently have pendulous labia ... So what occurs to me is that women themselves have obsessions about their bodies quite besides their men folk e.g. surely breast enlargement or reduction is much the same sort of issue and presumably has consequences for breast feeding so it interferes as well with women's bodies natural functioning and their pleasures in life ... Is it perhaps the case that women obsess about these things more than men and are more inclined to surgically modify their bodies e.g. with piercings for earrings etc ? ... In which case we are talking about " regime " in the sense of " politiea " where customs are enforced by laws which have no rational basis other than peculiar practice ?

What pops into my mind at the end of contributing this are these bar-codes tattooed on the nape of necks of women who are being trafficked as sexual property for exploitation : lots of these practices denoted possession or belonging to a tribe e.g. circumcision in Judaism is explicitly about that ...




http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/03/man-gives-free-tattoos-to-ex-gang-members/

Cover-Up Artist Removes Tattoos of Ex-Gang Members for Free

Second chances can be hard to come by, but Chris Baker, 42, a tattoo artist in Oswego, Ill., gives them away for free. ... Since 2011, Baker, who's also a youth pastor, has created more than 500 free tattoos for former gang members and victims of human trafficking eager to remove or cover up the visible evidence of their past. Big city human trafficking networks are often run by gang members, who tattoo their victims with barcodes, pimps' names or gang symbols to track them and make it almost impossible for them to escape.

http://www.huckmagazine.com/art-and-culture/nyc-doctor-changing-lives-removing-gang-tattoos-free/

The NYC doctor changing lives by removing gang tattoos for free

... Soon, Dr Dave realised that the need for tattoo removal was so widespread that he couldn’t deal with it alone. Fresh Start Tattoo Removals was born – a service that connects qualifying candidates to tattoo removers all over the States who agree to do the work for free. ... “I deal with three groups. Formerly incarcerated people, former gang members and victims of human trafficking – women forced into prostitution and branded with things like barcodes, dollar signs or the word ‘cash’, usually above their vagina. My programme is all about change: I deal with people who are in the process of building a new life. My tattoo removal doesn’t cure the world – it’s just one thing ...

http://trauma.blog.yorku.ca/2015/09/branding-tattoos-use-ink-to-violate-women/

Branding tattoos use ink to violate women

Latishia Sanchez was fourteen when she was attacked and raped by five men, including her boyfriend. During the assault, the men tattooed her boyfriend’s name across her neck using a needle and pencil lead. ... According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, fifty percent of all Canadian women will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. This can take many forms; recently tattoo branding has become a popular form of violence against women. ... As a weapon of domestic violence, perpetrators use ink to assert control and ownership over victims, either physically forcing them to get tattoos, or drugging and tattooing them while they are unconscious. The offender’s name is usually forced onto a visible part of the victim’s body.

[ WORTH READING BECAUSE IT IS SO HORRIBLE : SURELY THAT QUALIFIES FOR YOUR THREAD TITLE ABOUT CUTTING CHILDREN ? ]
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:18 pm    Post subject: codes Reply with quote

These bar codes are vile! I've heard that Romans infibulated both male and female slaves to prevent them breeding.

The pendulous labia belong to the Kalahari Bushwomen. They are one of the African societies that do not practise FGM. But I understand that their labia do not grow long until puberty.

People of this ethnic group have not always been confined to the Kalahari desert. They used to be much more widespread in Africa but were pushed around and pushed out by Bantus.

It may well be that neighbouring people thought, ''Oh God, if we don't do something drastic, our kids will look like that!'' The tragedy is that it wouldn't have happened. This genetic quirk is restricted to the Khoi San and, just possibly, Andaman Islanders.

If people thought this custom was tidy or beneficial, it looks like they were wrong. Among other things, FGM often makes it difficult and painful to urinate, and there is often a constant feeling of needing to urinate.

Then there is the formation of cysts. Many babies have lost their lives through suffocation because the midwives could not open up their mothers' birth canals fast enough.

Wikipedia says there are no known benefits. Of course, it might make people feel proud and noble and pure, but that is a vainglorious feeling. It would be better to be proud of something else.

You could argue that I am being unfair in that I take the word of resentful victims as sound evidence, and write off those who say they appreciated it as lunatics. The medical facts look dire so I don't have any doubts about my stance.

I forgot to say that it can take weeks of prodding with a knife or penis to open up an excised woman for marital duties. I can understand that if that is the culture you belong to, you will think it is a tidy arrangement.

But this is an illusion. It's probably difficult or impossible for unmarried victims of excision to insert a tampon; and sanitary towels may also be abrasive against the scar.

But tidiness is a minor consideration. The main purpose is to reduce or destroy any possibility of sexual pleasure. The idea is that this will create chaste demoiselles and faithful wives.

It comes from the view that your sexuality is not your own. It belongs to your tribe or clan.They can barter or sell it. You just have to keep yourself 'tidy' for what is to come, as Princess Diana would say.

I should just add that kids in our society today will often have multiple eyebrow piercings, tongue rings and genital modification, but this is their own choice. You can't even have a tattoo until you're 16.

I take a dim view of breast reduction and enlargement, but these are self inflicted. These kids in Africa and the Middle East have mutilation inflicted on them by the adults who should have their interests at heart. Sometimes, in the struggle to hold a child down, bones are broken.


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dai



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmm ... But do these matters like tattooing also count under your title ? ...

Surely all strategies of social control practised without mutual consent must be counted to be subject to The Rule of Law because although it may be e.g. a mother or father doing these things to their own children they are doing so with the sanction of the rest of their community and that in turn is having its practices condoned and accepted by the rest of their society ... I might wonder where baptism might fit into this scheme of things because although it can hardly be counted as harmful to the body it is still an non-consenting individual being stamped as " The Property of Upper Gas Street Very Very Primitive Methodist Chapel " which will in turn lead to harming their minds ... Of course there are worse things - like my being a Telegraph reader - but most of those harms are self-inflicted e.g. reading the Guardian ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infibulation

Infibulation is the surgical removal of the external female genitalia and the suturing of the vulva. It can also refer to placing a clasp through the foreskin in men. ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infibulation#Female

[ MUCH AS DESCRIBED BY MARIANNE - ONLY WORSE ]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infibulation#Male

[ WELL I DID NOT KNOW THIS - ]

" This was seen as a sign of restraint and abstinence, but was also related to concerns of modesty; in artistic representations, it was regarded as obscene and offensive to show a long penis and the glans penis in particular. Tying up the penis with a string was a way of avoiding what was seen as the shameful and dishonorable spectacle of an exposed glans penis, something associated with those without repute, such as slaves and barbarians. It therefore conveyed the moral worth and modesty of the subject."

Now actually I never thought of the other side of the coin in comparison to the idea that circumcision also conveys the moral worth and respectability of the recipient ... I personally have always thought that Adam and Evan made aprons of fig leaves to cover up their genitals as a result of their first opening of consciousness - " ####ing #### !!! Our tackle is crawling with flies and hell - Evan your hole is caked in shit !!! There's no way that I am going to do it with you - you lazy bum !!! " ... As a consequence of which of course dirty Evan had his gender re-assigned and Adam was provided with a nice clean hole to poke which G#d generously filled with lubricant for Adam's increased pleasure whereas Eva got the washing up, the laundry and the blame as a consequence of which she was cursed with endless shopping trips and nobody intelligent to talk to and the horror of even more little Adams and Evas popping out of her body and every single one of them starting out as a pain in the arse and then getting worse and ... oops ... off-message ... you know perhaps full-blown castration for both sexes is not such a bad idea after all ...
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject: god complex Reply with quote

I don't generally have a great deal of patience for those who go in for elective breast surgery simply through vanity or insecurity. It is disturbing though to read of the surgeon Ian Paterson who deceived women into thinking they needed breast surgery for good medical reasons, to profit financially, and also to fuel his 'god complex.'

I do know that doctors with certain vulnerabilities can acquire what is called 'medical narcissism.' Paterson who has left patients scarred in more ways than one, has been described as 'charismatic and charming', a bit tautological, but it drives home the point.

I did think that doctors were not so likely to be walking egos these days, as they are supposed to have some training in empathetic listening, and there is also, of course, a complaints procedure. In this case the complaints were not listened to. The team preferred 'good news to true news.'


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:38 pm    Post subject: scars Reply with quote

At university, we met male students from SubSaharan Africa who had tribal scarifications on their faces. I can't remember if it was as a puberty rite. Without further research, I can't say if this is done to women too.

It may be that these young men wore their scars with pride, but they did not choose to be scarified, nor was it even the result of peer pressure as with angel bites and pierced navels among the youth of today. It was a following of immemorial custom.

Otto von Bismarck had a horrible attitude to the Zouaves, soldiers from France's African colonies during the Franco-Prussian War. He said that anyone who took a black man as a prisoner of war should be hanged.

He thought the Zouaves subhuman. He thought they should be shot on sight.

But as a Junker and a Prussian officer and a university student, he had much in common with them. He was proud of the fencing scars on his face. Prussian officers customarily sported them with pride.

I know Liz's boyfriend Paul had colleauges from certain Asian countries who had beads inserted under the skin of the penis. It was not just for show, but to give added pleasure to a sexual partner.

In the days of ribbed and dotted condoms, this hardly seens necessary or desirable. But it goes back a long way. For a confirmed bookworm like myself, it's often hard to remember the sources of my quotes.

I later found out from the writings of a medieval traveller, that men from the same area had had similar penile beads in the Middle Ages. They egged the traveller on to submit to the same procedure. But he 'did not wish with his pain to give pleasure to others.'

I'm racking my brains to think who the traveller was. I've read some of the travels of Ibn Battuta from Tangier who journeyed through most of the Muslim world in the 1300s. He also sojourned in India, west and central Asia, and China.

I remember that in some SubSaharan African town, he was amazed that the houses were made out of salt. As a Muslim he was upset that the women walked round totally naked. In turn, he upset people by sitting as a judge in Sharia courts, and ordering amputations of hands and so on.

I don't think the bead observation comes from Ibn Battuta. It is probably from a European traveller, but I don't think it was Marco Polo, who was just possibly the bullshitter his acquaintances always thought he was. It was probably a lesser known but nicer person.
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