Female genital mutilation

From TERRY FRIEDEN
CNN Justice Producer
Don’t deport genital mutilation victim.
(emphasis added)

The U.S. attorney general is trying to prevent immigration authorities from sending a Muslim woman to her home country, where she was a victim of female genital mutilation. Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an immigration court to reconsider an African woman’s case.

In a stinging order overriding federal immigration courts, Mukasey blasted a decision that said a 28-year-old citizen and native of Mali should be expelled “because her genitalia already had been mutilated [so] she had no basis to fear future persecution if returned to her home country.”

*In the actual papers filed: “Nevertheless, nothing that the respondent had been subjected to the practice as a young girl and did ‘not even recall’ the experience, the Immigration Judge found that the respondent had neither proved past persecution nor satisfied the burden of establishing the legal grounds for the relief she sought.“*

Subjected to? Practice? Aka torture and mutilation. Satisfied the burden? No basis fear future persecution? Who stopped the first one? And when they find out she sought asylum and brought the issue to light? And if it were a case of an amputated or partially amputated penis? Would they send him back because there would be no reason for further persecution?

The woman, a native of Mali, begged the court not to send her back to her Bambara tribe. The 28-year-old said if she returned and had a daughter, the child also would be subject to mutilation. The woman also said she faced forced marriage if she had to go home.

*In the actual papers filed, she stated that if she were to return to Mali, she would be forced to marry her first cousin, and that she feared her ‘father would hurt her mother’ if she resisted ‘her father’s and her tribe’s wishes’ in respect to both ‘the arranged marriage’ and female genital mutilation.”*

Do they engage in male genital mutilation anywhere?

Female genital mutilation is not necessarily a one-time event,” Mukasey said. He noted that the board in a previous case had granted asylum in to one woman whose vaginal opening was sewn shut approximately five times after being opened to allow for sexual intercourse and child birth.”

So is that the threshold? Did she qualify because it happened “approximately” five times? And what examinations do these mutilated women have to undergo? Who performs them? Men or women? And who oversees that the women are not victimized once again?

The mutilators don’t use anesthesia and rarely mutilate under sterile conditions to prevent infection. They hold the girls down and start cutting – the mother and females relatives restraining them. The clitoris has approximately 10,000 nerve endings as compared to the penis, which has approx 3000. The urethra (where the urine exits) is in close proximity to the clitoris and often gets damaged, resulting in life-long urinary difficulties and recurrent infections. The inner walls of the vagina can become scarred, causing any type of sexual activity to be extremely painful – or even walking or contact by clothing. Childbirth can be potentially lethal to both the mother and fetus because of birth canal scarring. The cervix, uterus and the rectum can all be damaged. These mutilations are not done by trained surgeons – they are most often done by the elders.What happens to the men who did it and the mother who stood by and allowed it?

He also concluded that the Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong to assume that the woman “must fear persecution in exactly the same form [namely, repeat female genital mutilation] to qualify for relief.”

The woman to qualify for “relief” must “fear prosecutions in exactly the same form”? What woman wouldn’t? And what caused the need for “relief” in the first place? As is it won’t happen again? Who’s going to stop it? Nobody did the first time.

Mukasey had been urged to look into the matter by angered members of Congress in the wake of the January decision.

“This recent action taken by the Board of Immigration Appeals is a step backward for the rights of women worldwide,” declared Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, in a January letter.

“Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of a woman’s human rights and has traditionally been grounds for the granting of an asylum claim,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, said in the letter.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, issued a statement applauding Mukasey’s action, and declaring female genital mutilation a “barbaric practice widely regarded as a human rights abuse.”

Leahy sound familiar? Barbaric practice? Widely regarded? Human rights abuse? It’s far beyond human rights abuse and it should be regarded as so by everyone.

The Justice Department acknowledged it is extraordinarily rare for an attorney general to jump into a relatively low-level immigration case.

Relatively “low-level” immigration case? Would they say that if their son’s penis was amputated? What does it take for a baseball player from Cuba to get asylum?

The immigration courts decide about 40,000 cases a year, and an attorney general has issued an opinion on a case only three times in the past three years.

Female genital mutilation is common in parts of Africa, Asia and Arab countries, according to the United Nations. The operation is viewed by some ethnic groups as a means to control a woman’s sexuality and is sometimes a prerequisite for marriage or the right to inherit.

The procedure can cause tissue injury, severe infection and fever, among other complications. The U.N. has recorded cases in which hemorrhaging and infection lead to death.

And how many more doesn’t the UN know about? How many more mutilations have taken place since the UN recorded those cases? And did the UN count the death of their souls?

Attorney General, Michael Mukasey can be reached at AskDOJ@usdoj.gov. He should be applauded for his efforts. I don’t, as yet, know who the “Immigration Judge” was. Maybe Nancy Grace will.

***

First Lady Hillary’s Rodham Clinton’s Speech: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights
Bejing, China 1995 (text & video audio)
Named #35 of Top 100 Speeches of the 21st Century
She gave the 35th best speech in the 21st century while she was having “tea with ambassadors” while the best orator in the planet has nothing.
While the Arab World Sits Silent
Child marriages go unabated in Arab World

3 Responses to “Female genital mutilation”

  1. mattie14 Says:

    Dear Sarah.

    I am sorry you hold such anger. It is so unfounded I don’t quite know how to respond. And it is so far off base, I have to wonder your age, your location and what is really behind your anger – because it has nothing to do with me or my supposed ignorance. And I hope having expressed yourself you feel better about whatever it was.

    What is most surprising and what is clear in your own words is that you didn’t read the entire post and subsequent comment.

    I will list a few things in a neutral voice.

    Circumcision is not an act of pedophilia.

    Male newborn circumcisions in the US are not mandatory nor are they forced on the parents. They are performed by a surgeon only after the legal guardian signs an informed consent. It is the law.

    Complications are exceedingly rare with male newborn circumcision and it is done at a time when an infant cannot neurologically form a memory of the procedure.

    Therefore, there is absolutely no risk of psychological trauma.

    Not so with girls – even the ones who are given anesthesia.

    That single fact – that fact alone – makes FGM worse than male newborn circumcision. It is indisputable and basic on scientific fact. Nothing more needs be said if one wants to have a simple comparison.

    As for HIV/AIDS in Africa:

    Having men go in to have the procedure done – which is also voluntary and consented to – affords the best opportunity to educate – especially the men who think having sex with virgins will cure HIV/AIDS.

    Male circumcision is the second best tool to helping prevent the spread of HIV – the first being education, which is done when they go in for the procedure.

    It has already been proven to reduce the incidence and spread of HIV in Africa. And that is not my opinion or ignorance – it is fact. Circumcision is the recommended by the CDC and WHO and born out with statistically sound evidence.

    There are classifications of female genital mutilation and it involves more that removal of the clitoral hood. It can involve complete excision of both the labia minora and majora. And some girls are forced to have their vaginas sewn shut – only to have them opened for intercourse and childbirth and then resewn. And they have absolutely no say in the matter.

    Do you really expect me or anyone else to believe that a 5 minute procedure consented to by his legal guardian done at a time when a male newborn is unable to remember is worse that a girl having her vagina sewn shut?

    It defies sanity.

    And again, this fact alone makes it worse than a newborn male circumcision.

    Female mutilations are most often done by women who have had no medical training and are associated a high rate of complications, including death. Girls die because they were mutilated for no medical reason.

    Not so with male newborn circumcisions.

    A newborn’s incision heals in a matter of days — it can take weeks for a little girl’s freshly mutilated vagina to heal and in the meantime it can be extremely painful to urinate and defecate.

    Male newborn circumcision are not associated with long term medical and have absolutely no risk of psychiatric problems.

    Again that fact taken alone makes it worse.

    Girls/women can have long term medical and psychiatric complications – including pain with any movement – even just the clothes touching the skin, fistulas into their rectum or bladder that leads to incontinence for life (physically impossible in male newborn circumcisions), damage to their immature genitals that leads to infertility and thus ostracism, damage that scars their vagina making it physically impossible to have intercourse or give birth vaginally, vaginismus, which makes sexual intercourse and any type of genital manipulation extremely painful and uncontrolled hemorrhage and infection can lead to death. Long term psychiatric problems include but are not limited to chronic depression, PTSD, anxiety disorder, anorgasmia and suicide.

    A newborn male circumcision leads to none of those.

    Newborn male circumcision – the actual procedure – takes less than 5 minutes and is done under sterile conditions.

    Female genital mutilation can take hours and is not usually performed under sterile conditions. The clitoris has 10,000 nerve endings as opposed to 3,000 in the head of the penis, which by sheer number is more painful.

    Girls are held down fully alert and are able to feel everything. Some scream to the point of passing out while begging their female relatives to stop. Every single mutilated one of them undergoes psychological trauma, which will remain with them until they die.

    There is not a single man alive who can recount his circumcision as a newborn.It is physiologic impossibility. There is not a single man on this planet who feels worthless, dirty, ruined, less than whole or ashamed because of a procedure he cannot nor will he ever remember.

    But there are millions of girls and women.

    Talk to one who has been so mutilated. Ask her how it felt – how it feels. Ask her if a day goes by without her thinking about it. And then ask her if she thinks male newborn circumcision is worse and after she answers tell her why you do.

    But before you do – take out a scissors, a piece of broken glass, a rusty piece of metal, a pocket knife, a dull razor or whatever is available and snip/cut/slice any of the fleshy areas of your genital region. Make sure it is deep enough to cause bleeding and wide enough that a piece of tissue is cut off.

    I took the time to respond not because I needed to return the rant – your comment sounded like a hit and run rant- so I don’t expect you’ll return.

    Nor did I respond to defend myself – I am secure in my knowledge.

    I responded so that others who are here to read and learn are able to learn a little more.

    And, for that I thank you.

  2. Sarah Says:

    Mattie14,

    What a shame your ignorance is. It’s very sad that people like you think that it’s ok to strap a little boy down WITH NO CONSENT and perform pedophiliac acts upon him, but are all up in arms when the clitoral hood is removed from a woman. The male circumcision is MUCH, MUCH worse than FGM (female circumcision), and to have it be minimalized by fools such as yourself makes you look very stupid.

    Please educate yourself before you post. There are other ways to ‘save’ people from AIDS, how about education (which you seem to be lacking). Maybe we all should lop off our boobs to stop breast cancer, or cut off our arms to stop carpal tunnel.

    See how stupid you sound now? The removal of ANYTHING will lessen the chance of SOMETHING, but at what cost?

    They are not always given anesthesia. Again, ignorance.

  3. mattie14 Says:

    Hello Linda.

    That in no way compares to an innocent little girl having genitalia mutilated without anesthesia and while she is awake.

    Absolutely no correlation.

    Circumcision as a surgical procedure takes less than five minutes to perform, is done with anesthesia and neurologically cannot be remembered by the newborn. It also does not leave permanent scarring or lead to incontinence or cause pain with intercourse or urination, if done correctly, as it is almost all of the time.

    The young girls, however, remember every second and often have pain the rest of their lives, sometimes just walking or sitting or during any type of genital manipulation, whether or not penetration takes place. They can also become incontinent and be unable to give birth vaginally. Some die – needlessly – from uncontrollable hemorrhage or infection from the unsanitary conditions. No newborn dies from circumcision.

    Circumcision in the US is also 100% OPTIONAL. The parents sign a consent. They CHOOSE the procedure – these young girls have ABSOLUTELY NO SAY in the matter.

    And, you are sadly misinformed.

    1-Muslims are the largest single religious group to practice circumcision.

    2-The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control recommend circumcision to prevent the transmission of HIV. It has unequivocally been proven to do so in Africa, as the foreskin increases the risk of infection. Additionally, having the men come in for the procedure allows the doctor and staff to educate them about HIV transmission. They are also given anesthesia.

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