To explain something that was mentioned in the previous post: Since some people don’t know what female genital cutting is, here is a simple diagram, as well as an estimate of how widely practiced it is in Africa. It is also practiced in India, and parts of the middle east, and parts of Asia, but I didn’t see any charts available from a quick Google search. It is often carried out without anesthesia, and not by medical professionals, and is very painful. The clitoris is rarely spared.
I remember reading a excerpt from the book “Desert Flower” as a child, where the author had described being forced down while an old lady sawed off her genitals with a dull blade, and sewed everything shut to one tiny hole for both urine and menstruation to come out of, then bound her legs together. At first, the old lady didn’t cut off her clitoris, but then the grandmother said something like, “Cut that off too. Cut off all this filth. What is it good for anyway?” Or something like that. From then on, only droplets could come out of the one opening, so it took her several minutes just to pee, and she experienced major menstrual complications. After her circumcision, as they call it, her father tried to sell her to an old man as a wife, in exchange for some farm animals. As an adult, having run away, she was able to get a surgery to open this hole and was able to pee normally, but she will never know sexual pleasure. She also mentioned how scary the thought of childbirth was, ripping open the small hole, and how women would sometimes be sewn shut again after childbirth so that they would be tight for their husband’s pleasure. Sex and childbirth for these women must be excruciating, and life threatening, I would imagine.
"Female genital mutilation is classified into four groups. Type 1 is the excision of the clitoral hood, usually as well as the clitoris. Type 2 is the excision of the clitoris andinner labia. Type 3 is commonly called infibulation, which consists of cutting off all external genitalia, and then binding the girl’s legs together for 2-6 weeks so a scar will form over the opening of the vulva. Before this huge scar is formed, a twig is usually stuck in between the flesh to create a small hole for urine and menstrual blood to flow from. The hole that is produced is initially made small enough to prevent women from having sex, but this is problematic because the small opening obstructs blood and urine flow, which causes infection. When a girl who has infibulation is about to have sex the man either tries to force his penis through the hole, or has to cut it with a knife which frequently results in organ damage, urinary incontinence, obstetric fistula, and death. Type 4 includes the following damage to female genitalia: pricking, piercing, burning, cutting, applying corrosive substances to tighten it, and cutting into the vagina to widen it. FGM has many harmful effects such as: hemorrhaging, urinary infection, hepatitis, and HIV (due to unsterile tools), pelvic infections, epidermoid cysts, and infertility.”
Some families living in the UK, the USA, and other countries have continued the practice either in the country, or taking their daughter to have it done outside the country. This has resulted in US laws regarding the practice, as shown in an old 2007 chart.
/ahem. I tried to correct the previous typos.