Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Should We In the West Sanction "A Ritual Nicking" As a Way to Curb the Full-On Genital Obliteration of FGM?

CNN's Nima Elbagir says that as long all FGM measures, both the extreme sort and the less extreme "ritual nicking," remain rooted in the desire to control female sexuality, we should hesitate to view the latter as an acceptable "compromise" (my bolds):
The practice of "ritual nicking" is not new. In some countries, it's known as "Pharaonic," in contrast with "Sunna," the more extreme version.  
I'm from Sudan and in my mother's generation, the Pharaonic version of FGM, the "ritual nicking," was reintroduced in Egypt and Sudan. It was an attempt to shield girls from the shame of being uncircumcised -- and therefore unmarriageable -- while protecting them from the horrors in childbirth the more extreme version engenders. 
It failed. The extreme version is still happening.  
There are no official data for FGM in Sudan because it is considered taboo to speak openly about anything sexual; all of the community-level FGM activists I interviewed refused to be identified by name. All of them agreed, though, that it's the mentality behind enforced submission to norms of purity that needs to change -- not the means of the enforcement. 
The authors argue that the best way to protect female children is to adopt the term "female genital alteration" and a more nuanced position on cultural practices -- one that's not associated with long-term medical risks and that they say does not violate human rights. 
But among those I spoke to, those who had suffered through the procedure, there's worry that it will only legitimize the thinking behind FGM. As long as that continues, FGM will flourish and mutate. 

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